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Third raise for teachers and public officers and No tax increase in budget Print E-mail
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Thursday, 10 March 2016 00:00

pm barrow budget1.jpg - 73.49 KbRt. Hon. Dean Barrow presented his 9th consecutive budget as Prime Minister of Belize following his third consecutive general elections victory. And as had been agreed to with the unions three years ago, the teachers and public officers, all 12 thousand of them will receive their third salary increase in as many years. “The outlay on Wages and Salaries remains the single largest component of Expenditure, and at $374 million for FY 2015/2016 it is responsible for 42 percent of Current Expenditure, which is reflecting of the compounding impact of the multi-year salary adjustment package agreed with the Unions,” stated the P.M.

Salary increases began for public officers in 2014 when they received a 6 percent salary increase. Last year they received an 8 percent salary increase in July which was retroactive to April as well as an additional 2% increase which officers received based on merit.  The PM said that in effect the third raise will see a cumulative 25 percent salary increase for public officers over the last three years if the annual increments were to also be added in.

And while public officers will be receiving their salary increase, PM Barrow was very clear when he explained that government was going against requests to increase the tax base through changes in GST. He explained that, “the technocrats spoke to us about GST, about moving from zero rated to taxable, about moving from exempt to full taxable. We are determined even in a time of change, not to burden our people. We feel completely justified that in pulling back just that small portion of this huge savings so that government can continue to operate fully and effectively and so that we burden nobody with any tax increase. We have done remarkably well.”  He added that the government is projecting a $50 million dollar increase in recurrent revenues as a result of an adjustment which was made on import duty on fuel products. This took effect in December of last year. And while there has been an increase in import duty the Prime Minister stated that because of a fall in the world market prices on fuel since 2014 it has resulted in some savings of over $163 million to the Belizean consumer. He added that, “At current prices, even with the import duty increase, the consumer will still keep in excess of two thirds, or more than $100 million, of the savings.”

As teachers get their salary increase, there will also be continued spending in key areas including Education – to provide for further increases in transfers to schools under the Education Sector Reform Program; Health – to provide for more provisions for medical supplies, and for the new 24-hour service of the San Pedro Polyclinic and also for the establishment of a new Clinic in Benque Viejo Del Carmen;  National Security – to provide for increases in the number of officers in both the Coast Guard and the Police Force, and to strengthening of the senior management of the Police Department as well as to extending the payscales for the rank and file.

That spending will be complimented by continued investments in infrastructure. The Prime Minister noted that, “our priorities for the Budget for FY 2016/2017 remain as in previous years, with an emphasis on investments in streets, roads and bridges; in sporting facilities; in health and education; in national security; and, of course, in alleviating the conditions of the poor and the disadvantaged.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 March 2016 14:07