By Ingrid Fernandez/ Staff Journalist
The Belize Progressive Party (BPP) made three suggestions to the government, this week, which it feels would help to improve the conomic climate of the country.
“Cutting your [ministers] salaries and benefits by 50 percent,” is the first suggestion. The party said cutting unnecessary spending, including unnecessary embassies and excess waste in the Public Service, will benefit the economy.
The party is asking the government to reduce salaries for ministers and use that money in the education and health systems.
When asked if the suggestion was feasible, BPP Public Relations Director, Chalres Leslie Junior said the UDP has passed bills in one day, therefore they can pass a bill to cut their salaries in half in one day as well.
“We want the Belizean people to demand, if the government wants to see real change, let them also sacrifice with the rest of Belizeans who are out of a job and living pay check to pay check. Belizeans who are out of a job and can’t afford to send their children to school and feed them at the same time, let them sacrifice along with the 50 percent of Belizeans who are living in poverty,” Leslie said.
He added the party is conscious that the government might not take up their suggestions, but that they want to assure the Belizean public that they understand how to develop solutions to recover the economy.
The BPP also suggested that GOB reduce GST, business tax and fuel prices by 25 percent and ban imported goods that can be produced locally. The party believes that these measures will create jobs and incomes for Belizeans and stimulate economic recovery.
The Party also called out to key economical players to do their part in assisting economic recovery. The banks, the utility companies and the oil industry play important roles in salvaging the economy, the BPP said.
The BPP called on government to regulate bank interest loans to “no more than four percent” on small business loans, to freeze interests on loans for unemployed people and to withhold foreclosures.
“Belizeans pay the highest utilities in Central America,” the BPP noted, adding that this puts the people at a disadvantage in competing with other businesses globally. The BPP also called out to the utility companies to reduce utility rates.
The recent hike on fuel is counterproductive to economic benefit, the party said, suggesting that the government institute a Road Tax of $.10 per gallon of crude oil to repair damages caused by the industry to infrastructure and the environment.
“If the government implemented some of these suggestions, they can definitely turn around the economy in a very expeditious manner,” Leslie said.