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Prime Minister: “It will take time to collect outstanding taxes”

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Posted: Friday, May 7, 2021. 8:29 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister of Belize John Briceño has turned the tables on public officers, pointing out the irony that the province of tax collections is theirs and not the Government’s.

And in his short time in office as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, he said, he had not personally called any public officer to ask that they not collect outstanding taxes from anyone, and issued a public challenge to any public officer to suggest otherwise.

“To try to collect taxes, it will take a process. Some of these people that haven’t paid, some don’t want to pay, some don’t care, and some others don’t have the money. The point is that it will take time to for us to be able to collect those monies, and we don’t have time right now. Every month we have to write cheques and make direct deposits to pay salaries. Every month our overdraft goes up and we continue to borrow more from Central Bank. So, we simply don’t have time; Belize has run out of time,” Briceño said.

The Barrow administration “hid” the country’s financial crisis by “printing money” over the past few years, and even more damning, the unions were there for it all and said very little.

Nonetheless, Briceño said his administration is committed to recovering what it can and has established a committee to that effect, and also is committed to good governance reform, from asset recovery to constitutional reform, some of which the unions have also called for.

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