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Mar 21, 2017

More on Budget from Economist Dr. Densil Williams

Densil Williams

The 2017 budget which outlines government’s projected expenditure for the upcoming fiscal year will be debated in the House of Representatives at length on Thursday and Friday.  Ahead of that examination by parliamentarians on both sides of the floor, a number of economists have perused the financial plan and concerns have been raised on several issues, including the fact that Belize’s fiscal outturn for the past few years has been negative.  Doctor Densil Williams, an economist by occupation, is also professor and executive director of Mona School of Business and Management at the University of the West Indies.  He too has weighed in on the 2017 budget.

 

Prof. Densil Williams, Economist

“I’ve noticed that Belize has run primary deficits maybe for the last few years or so.  Now that is actually worrying because when you have primary deficits that can also increase in a significant way your overall debt to GDP ratio.  But also worrying is that the fiscal outturn in Belize for the last few years or so has also been negative.  Mark you, negative but not in a substantial way like Jamaica.  I recognized that this time around the projection is that the fiscal deficit is going to hover around the three to four point six percent which is getting into dangerous territory as well.  Jamaica also ran into fiscal deficit of seven or eight percent, which as I said, explains why their debt to GDP ratio is so high.  So they have restructured, they have common and they have gotten the blessings of the IMF and they have now opened back to the international capital market.  What you are seeing now is that their debt to GDP ratio is trending downwards; they have very specific targets as to where they want to go with that.  They say by 2020 they should be under one hundred percent and then by 2025 they should be at sixty percent.  And what we are seeing is that that is actually leading to some level of confidence, some level of investments coming into the economy and you’re starting to see some growth.”

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