By BBN Staff: The Belize Network of NGOs (BNN) today issued a release expressing its full support of the press statements issued recently by the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) pertaining to the Government of Belize’s poorly considered decision to pay an “honorarium” to the teachers who did not participate in the October 2016 strike.
According to the release, the Senate Debate on the National Budget for Fiscal Year 2017/18 revealed that GOB has not taken the budget planning exercise seriously.
“GOB’s decision to spend $1 million of unbudgeted taxpayers’ money to reward teachers who did not participate in the strike amounts to an expenditure that was not approved by the National Assembly. This makes a mockery of the national budget planning exercise,” the release states.
The release goes on to say that it is irreconcilable that Belmopan wants to spend un-budgeted monies during what should be an era of fiscal tightening.
“As the NGO Senator’s consultations on the GOB’s proposed budget revealed, the Government needs to put its house in order before it asks the private sector and the citizenry to accept and support the fiscal tightening measures.”
BNN also said that government’s first impulse has been to take the easy way out which is to institute revenue measures that for all intents and purposes, are tax increases in disguise.
BNN further added that many in the NGO community are of the opinion that the poor state of Belize’s economy is as a result of several reasons, principal among them corruption, poor economic planning, the mismanagement of public funds, the crushing external debt, and lack of a vision and strategy for the sustainable development of Belize.
According to BNN, the state of our economy will not improve unless GOB institutes and demonstrates fiscal discipline.
The release ends by saying that, “as we enter what will be tough times in this new fiscal year, the need to plan, and stick to plans, has never been more critical. That is the context for BNN’s calls for transparency, better leadership, and partnership so that our country can have a brighter future.”