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Oct 29, 2018

On the Road to Economic Recovery

Dean Barrow

Government will be spending millions of dollars on infrastructural projects across the country, including ninety million dollars on the Caracol Road. Tourism is the main driver of the economy and continues with record breaking number of arrivals. Citrus is on the way to recovery and the sugar industry is seeking I.D.B. investment loan funds to assist growers.  The PM says the local economy is in a good place, and the country’s foreign assets are safely above the threshold that is mandated internationally. The Prime Minister quoted from a recent I.M.F. report indicating that Belize is on the road to economic recovery. 

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Our G.D.P. expanded by three point four percent in the first half of this year.  You will recall that not too long ago the Statistical Institute of Belize certified quarter two economic growth of five point four percent, with a comparatively low unemployment rate of only nine point four percent.  This half-year, three point four percent growth is the highest for the first six months of any year since 2015.  Our current account deficit also narrowed from forty-nine point three million in the first half of 2017 to only twenty-six point one million in the first half of 2018 and the net foreign assets of the Central Bank currently stands at five hundred and eighty-four point three million or three point six months of import cover.  This is comfortably above the internationally mandated benchmark.  So then, our financial system is healthy, the balance sheets of the domestic banks are robust and their aggregate ratio of non-performing loans remains well below the guideline threshold of five percent.  In the circumstances, even the IMF, who I’m never normally fund of quoting, said after their September Article Four consultation that, and I quote, Belize’s economic recovery is strengthening, the government is making significant progress towards debt reduction and the Central Bank of Belize has taken resolute action to improve financial soundness, end of quotation.  The fund also commended G.O.B. for increasing the primary balance to a one point three percent of G.D.P. surplus and acknowledged that this current budget raises that primary surplus still further to above two percent of G.D.P.”

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