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The Budget to be debated this week in the National Assembly

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Posted: Monday, March 25, 2019. 9:24 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: For three of the next four days, Belize’s 44 parliamentarians – 31 in the House of Representatives and 13 in the Senate – will be debating the approval of the appropriation of certain sums of money for the use of the Public Service for the coming fiscal year starting on April 1.

Officially known as the General Revenue and Appropriation Bill and generally referred to as the Budget, the act sets Belize’s financial, economic and social priorities over the coming year.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow, presenting the Budget on March 15th, hailed a recovering economy buoyed by rising tourism and rebounding agriculture. He proposed no new taxes and a greater effort to recover outstanding monies along with changes to the financial and especially tax apparatus.

He also promised an aggressive infrastructure initiative including ongoing work on three of the nation’s four major highways and plans to upgrade the Caracol Roads and two major roads in the North as well.

But Leader of the Opposition John Briceño maintained that Belizeans are still fighting unstinting poverty, rising crime, and hopelessness while the UDP elite live well on kickbacks.

After debate on Monday and Tuesday, the Budget shifts to the Senate, where business Senator Mark Lizarraga plans to attack what he calls another tax and spend budget for which there was no consultation with the business community. We’ll have more from our recent interview with him later on.

This morning’s proceedings begin at 10 am and continue at 9 am Tuesday.

 

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