General — 17 May 2017 — by Adele Ramos
Two multi-million-dollar loans approved by the House

BELMOPAN, Cayo, Fri. May 12, 2017–Members of the lower house of Parliament today approved motions for two multi-million-dollar loans, one for a Government guarantee of a US$20 million loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) for on-lending to Belizeans and another for US$10 million for community level projects to be funded through the Belize Social Investment Fund.

Bill tabled to empower GST Commissioner to temporarily shut down non-compliant businesses

Opposition Leader Johnny Briceño asked the Government side why they were rushing through the money bills in Friday’s sitting, suggesting that the Government is doing so because of imminent elections.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow replied to Briceño that there is a queue of DFC borrowers who are anxious to press ahead with the enterprises for which they need the financing.

The 2 motions subsequently adopted by the House were the Caribbean Development Bank – Eighth Consolidated Line of Credit to the Development Finance Corporation – Loan and Guarantee Motion, 2017, and the Caribbean Development Bank – Belize Social Investment Fund III – Loan Motion, 2017.

Additionally, a total of 9 bills were introduced, but were not passed, pending further consideration by the House. They are the Customs and Excise Duties (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2017; the International Business Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2017; the General Sales Tax (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2017; the Stamp Duties (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2017; the Economic Development Council Bill, 2017; the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Bill, 2017; the National Cultural Heritage Preservation Bill, 2017; the Belize Building (Amendment) Bill, 2017; and Trade Licensing (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

Notably, the amendment to the GST legislation now gives the Commissioner of GST the power to temporarily shut down businesses which are repeatedly found to be in violation.

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