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2017-2018 Budget will give Public Officers 3% salary increase and Tax increase on Beer and Cigarettes Print E-mail
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Thursday, 16 March 2017 00:00

Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow presented his 10th budget on Monday March 13. While there had been wild speculation that the fiscal adjustments by government would have seen massive taxation and austerity measures the budget did not reflect this. The Prime Minister stated that the budget would see a salary increase across the board of 3.0% for all public officers, police (including the BDF and Coast Guard), teachers, and pensioners. This he said, “would require an additional $15 million in resources. But we are determined to keep our word even though to do so means having to forgo other potential expenditures in goods and services.” PM Barrow went on to remind Belizeans that, “over the last four years, public officers and teachers have received an aggregate increase of 25% in wages and salaries, costing government $90 million.”

While public officers will receive their salary increase, there will be a relentless campaign to trim expenditure fat with government ministries and departments continuing on an expenditure freeze from the last financial year. According to the Prime Minister, the freeze will mean that they will have less to spend on utilities, fuel, material and supplies and equipment. This will force government offices to manage their budgets more effectively.

From a revenue stand point, all statutory boards will be required to contribute 10 percent of their 2017/2018 income to the Consolidated Fund. The rationale behind this is that, “if the expenses of these quasi government entities cannot be as policed then the next best alternative is to reduce their income flows.”

Keeping with an increase in revenue, there will be an increase in excise on aerated water, beer and stout, cement and fuel to generate .77 percent of GDP. There will also be an increase in departure fees for non Belizeans to $40 to yield .3% of GDP. Environmental tax on imported goods will also go up by 1 percent producing .41% of GDP. The social fee on Free Zone cigarettes will go up to 20% generating .29% of GDP. GST will also be placed on electricity consumers who use over $100 in electricity to produce .19% of GDP. There will also be an amendment by 50 basis points on the stamp duty on foreign exchange permits to yield .22% of GDP.

According to the Prime Minister, these measures along with other cost containment efforts will yield government’s goal of 3% of GDP this year