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Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow and Inter-American Development Bank Country Representative Cassandra T Rogers shake hands after the signing of a loan agreement. (Photo: Ambergris Today)

Belize, IDB sign loan agreement to strengthen tax administration

Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow and Inter-American Development Bank Country Representative Cassandra T Rogers shake hands after the signing of a loan agreement. (Photo: Ambergris Today)

Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow and Cassandra T Rogers, country representative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), on Tuesday signed a loan agreement for US$14 million, which will go toward strengthening tax administration in Belize.

“We are once again grateful to the IDB for another instance, yet another example of the robustness of the partnership between us, of the strength of the bank’s programme with Belize. I agree with you (Rogers) that this particular facility comes at just the right time; and we, in fact, look forward to the fruit it will bear in terms of strengthening tax administration and, as you put it, ensuring a better revenue yield for the country, something we can always do with,” Prime Minister Barrow said in a video posted by Channel5 Belize.

The IDB project will strengthen tax administration governance by improving operational processes through the modernisation of technological infrastructure, with the aim being to maximise the Government’s revenue-generating potential.

The loan will provide financial support to the Government of Belize as it embarks on efforts to modernise, restructure and integrate its tax administration. As a result, there will be a new business model evidenced by a series of integrated processes and services for taxpayers.

” …and we, in fact, look forward to the fruit it will bear in terms of strengthening tax administration and, as you put it, ensuring a better revenue yield for the country…”

— Dean Barrow, prime minister of Belize

Once completed, the project will not only increase tax revenue for the Government and reduce evasion, but will also make it easier for taxpayers to comply.

Further, the project will also have a positive impact on economic growth and development and provide the authorities with better and more complete tax data for decision-making.

So far, the impact of the tax administration-strengthening project has been felt with the amalgamation of the Income Tax Department and Department of General Sales Tax into the newly formed Belize Tax Service Department — a department under the Ministry of Finance.

The project is aligned with and helps the Government of Belize to achieve the goals of the fiscal consolidation programme that it initiated in fiscal year 2017/2018. It is also closely aligned with technical assistance that Belize has been receiving from the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Center.

Strengthening Tax Administration is a project financed by the Inter-American Development Bank and executed by the Ministry of Finance over a five-year period.