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Jan 25, 2017

G.O.B.: Yes to Cutting Expenses; No to Higher Taxes and Retrenchment

Tracy Panton

You can say it’s common knowledge that the bondholders of Belize’s international debt, known as Superbond 3.0, rejected a third restructuring proposed by the Government of Belize. G.O.B. is now seeking to avoid further credit risk and strengthen Belize’s economy. But will the government turn to retrenchment and increased taxes, as proposed by the International Monetary Fund? Minister Tracy Panton says that is not an option.

 

Tracy Panton, Minister of State, Trade & Investment

“I understand it that the negotiations continue. There is a need to look at these hefty payments that the country has to make and so I think the effort will continue to negotiate with the bondholders and hopefully we can find a place where we can have a consensus.”

 

Duane Moody

“Ma’am, we know that it was indicated…the IMF had indicated that there would be need for retrenchment and even the raising of taxes so that Belize to meet its external debt. Has there been any discussion as to—I know the Prime Minister said that it wouldn’t happen—but has there been any discussion as to whether you have to rethink and look at those options?”

 

Tracy Panton

“I certainly don’t think that any time, in the near future, we will be following any prescription of the IMF. I know that we are looking at how we curtail and streamline expenses of the government; that is important. We can’t go to the bondholders if it is business as usual; we have to be sure that we are streamlining our own activities. And I think there will be a greater effort by government departments and ministries and all involved to streamline expenses.”

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