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Sep 19, 2017

I.M.F. Wraps Up Belize Consultation; Opposition Asks Who Will Help Productive Sector

John Briceño

The International Monetary Fund has issued its final report on its annual Article Four consultation with Belize which took place in June. Despite Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s insistence that Belize is not following the projections of the I.M.F. lock, stock and barrel, the agency does appear to take credit for implementations of various reforms it suggested in its 2016 visit. Citing a weak macroeconomic outlook, high public debt and sluggish economic growth, it commends government for tightening its fiscal stance in the 2017 budget of four percentage points of GDP as an important first step toward fiscal consolidation. Tourism expansion was cited as the only bright spot with improved airlift, marketing and new Foreign Direct Investment projects. The I.M.F. counsels additional efforts to consolidate on both the revenue and the expenditure side, including a broadening of the base of the General Sales Tax, and reform of the public service to help stabilize employee headcount and to contain the wage bill, which the Prime Minister specifically refused to countenance.  Opposition Leader John Briceño briefly weighed in.

 

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“I’m not surprised, because nothing has gotten any better. The economy continues to stagger; it’s not moving in the right direction. We’re not addressing the fundamental issues with the economy, sitting down with the productive sector and see what we can do to get them out of that situation. I know Minister [Michael] Finnegan likes to say I worry about the rich people – it has nothing do with the rich people; it’s the productive sector that creates employment and brings hard-earned currency into this country, and if we just ignore them, then what’s going to happen? It’s precisely what we are facing right now. And the productive sector includes thousands of small farmers – that have five acres of citrus or five acres of cane; all of them are productive.”

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1 Response for “I.M.F. Wraps Up Belize Consultation; Opposition Asks Who Will Help Productive Sector”

  1. carlos says:

    I am sorry but past PUP and present UDP governments have ignored the agricultural potential of this country. There is no incentives to farmers in agriculture ( plants and animals). Things are so expensive that many farmers have abandoned cultivation of vegetables. Only big farmers have survived, like the menonites. We use to have farm demonstrators before that provided assistance to farmers. This do not exist or there is not enough of these people now. The truth is that agriculture is the bedrock of Belize. We have a lot of unused land. The resource is there but we make no proper use of it.

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