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Business Senator questions budget projections

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Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2021. 2:54 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: The business community is concerned about the Government of Belize’s (GOB’s) revenue projections in the 2021-2022 national budget.

Senator Kevin Herrera, the representative for the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), during today’s Senate meeting, requested clarification from Government Senators on the amount of revenue projected for collection given the country’s economic climate.

Herrera explained that under the recurrent revenue section subheading 101 (1) for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax, the government earned just over $86.52 million in PAYE for the period 2020-2021 due to unemployment rising up to 29 percent. He also noted that GOB has projected economic growth of only 2 percent for the next fiscal year.

“How is it that we are budgeting to collect $105,178,676 for the year 2021-2022?” Herrera asked.  “This is not adding up. To achieve that, there would have to have an employment rebound of around 22 percent over the actual outturn of the previous year.”

Apart from seeking clarification on the figures, Herrera also pleaded with the government to look beyond a purely technical standpoint when developing solutions for the economic crisis and take into consideration the impact that those solutions will have on the lives of Belizeans. He stressed that, for Belize to truly rebound from the economic crisis, the government must do everything possible to ensure that the private sector recovers from the downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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