PRESS RELEASE | BPP Says "Economic Recovery can only happen with a Social Conscience"
Belmopan | 3rd February 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS BPP says - “Economic Recovery can only happen with a Social Conscience”
After 34 years of Independence, Belize is worse off today than it was in 1981.
Here are some initiatives that the BPP recommends to be implemented promptly to stop Belize from diving further into the abyss of economic disaster, and turn our economy around and start to head back towards the light of recovery and hope:
No country has ever recovered from a recession/depression by increasing taxes. Come April 1st, due to lack of proper investment of Petrocaribe dollars and our tax dollars, the UDP will have no choice but to implement reverse economics when it raises taxes on its already suffering people. Furthermore, true and caring leaders never require of others what they are not willing to do themselves. We therefore call on the PUDP leaders, if you love Belize as you proclaim to, show us by immediately:
Cutting your salaries and benefits by 50%. Cut unnecessary spending: ex.closing unnecessary Embassies, park all GOB vehicles after 5p.m. and on weekends, turn off the A/C in GOB offices. (These buildings were designed for open air use)
Reduce GST, business tax and fuel tax by 25%..
Place a ban on imported items that can be produced locally. Give incentives for small businesses that are/can produce these import substitution items.
These measures will immediately create jobs and place more disposable income in the hands of Belizeans, thus stimulating the economy for recovery.
Further Initiatives to implement immediately:
Player # 1: Banks. We call on the financial players to cut those outrageous high interest rates and service fees by 50%. It is highway robbery! If the PUDP truly cared for us they would have legislated a social lending rate of no more than 4% for loans up to 50k for small business and low income houses. Legislate a moratorium on residential foreclosures and demand that Banks freeze interest on loans for persons who become unemployed as a result of circumstances beyond their control. The BPP calls on all Commercial Banks and lending institutions to lower your rates NOW! The BPP further calls for NO more foreclosures on residential loans if that is the only home the family has. The present economic recession was not caused by our people and we should not bear the full brunt. It is time for Banks to have a SOCIAL CONSCIENCE by sharing the burden and write down some of these losses. After all they will still make a profit, only less.
Player # 2: Utility Companies. The outrageous rates of our telephone, internet, electricity and water is unconscionable! Belizeans pay the highest utility rates in Central America! No wonder our productive industries cannot compete with our neighboring countries! A country cannot develop without affordable energy and communications. With what conscience can these companies boast their millions in profits while its customers are going out of business and falling below the poverty line? The BPP therefore calls on all state owned utility providers to drop your rates by at least 50% so that all Belizeans can begin to feel a little relief. In addition give a 30% cash rebate to all customers on their 2015 bills. This will immediately place money in the economy thereby stimulating the recovery. Utility companies will still make a profit, only a little less.
Player # 3: OIL. GOB through its state owned fuel importer APBEL (Alba Petrocraibe Belize) continues to rake in the millions while Belizeans continue to pay higher and higher prices for fuel and butane. We therefore call on government to reduce the import duties on fuel. We also call for a Road tax of $.10 per gallon of crude so that we can have funds to repair and improve the roads being torn up by the oil trucks. We also call on BNE to quit burning OUR natural gas and turn off that plume that is only polluting the air we breathe. Failure to do so, GOB should implement a pollution tax, retroactive from the first day that BNE began to burn OUR gas. BNE can produce butane gas at a much lower rate than imported gas.
It’s time for a paradigm shift in our development strategy. The rich cannot get richer at the expense and detriment of the poor. Our capitalistic direction must be tempered with a social conscience NOW! A little caring NOW is the only way to head off a sure calamity down the road. Failure to implement these measures will result in the future getting tougher, unemployment getting higher, increase in more hardship-driven crime and ultimately more people poorer. Belize will then enter the greatest depression in its history. If the PUDP won’t deliver, then step down and let the BPP show you how!
END OF RELEASE