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Jun 13, 2012

P.M. says expect austerity measures in budget

Brace up for austerity. Speaking at a press conference this morning, the Prime Minister sounded the alarm that a gaping thirty million dollar hole is expected in the new and delayed budget that will be presented to the House on June twenty-ninth. It means that government will be spending less and that cuts and tougher times are expected.   The PM touched on a myriad of issues, including an update on his wife’s health, crime and what the recent court ruling on the nationalization of Telemedia means for the government. News Five’s Jose Sanchez begins with the national budget.

 

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The P.M. held his first press conference since March seventh. He began on a personal note with an update on the health of his wife Kim Simplis Barrow.

 

Dean Barrow

Kim Simplis Barrow

“Dr. Bernard Bulwer in Boston and Dr. Dorita Arzu in Houston have arranged for us to see a cutting edge specialist at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the Texas Medical Complex in Houston. That doctor’s expertise is in treating heart failure arising secondary to radiation and chemotherapy damage. And we should be able to see him as early as next week.  Doctor Adrian Coye, here at home, is ready to take over as soon as Kim can come back to Belize. And Doctor Elsworth Grant, the founder of the Dangriga Cancer Unit, remains always ready to advise and assist.”

 

Official business then began with the announcement of draft budget estimates to be announced at the next House Meeting on June twenty-ninth. Barrow indicated that austere measures would be implemented since oil revenues has dipped by thirty million dollars.

 

Dean Barrow

“You know when I was writing this I saw that I had made a typo and instead of draft estimates, I had written daft estimates. I hope that’s not a Freudian slip. Anyway, Cabinet will tomorrow approve the draft estimates for presentation to the House on Friday, June twenty-ninth. And while certainly with respect to agriculture and tourism the economy is doing well, there is no doubt that this will be a difficult budget. Reason number one is what is happening with global oil prices.  Their steep drop is good news for consumers at the pump, but our country’s export earnings are being hammered and government will experience a thirty million dollar fall off in tax revenue as a result of this—the far lower oil  prices and also as a result of declining B.N.E. production. Oil is of course a finite resource and we are already beginning to see production trailing off. We need to find more oil.”

 

Dean Barrow

As oil reduces, so does an incremental increase in interest rates on the super bond which will reach eight point five percent after August 2012’s payment.   The government is hoping to broker a deal with international creditors such as the I.M.F. and the I.D.B. to partially guarantee a restructured Superbond.

 

Dean Barrow

“We are seeking relief from the Superbond holders. Now, we clearly need the assistance of the international financial institutions in this regard; particularly from the I.M.F. We need them to certify our numbers, as well as, our friends from Inter-American Development bank. I said last week in an interview at the airport just after I got off the plane is that one of the things we are asking I.D.B. to do is to provide a partial guarantee to the restructured debt. Now I must stress that this is something that ultimately will have to be proved by I.D.B. board and there is no certainty at all that we will secure this. But I repeat that initially the talks are going well and there is clearly a tremendous degree of I.D.B. goodwill—at least on the part of the officials with whom we have been speaking. In the context of all that, we locally—in terms of our national budget—must demonstrate fiscal discipline as proof that we are doing our part in the equation that we say then requires sacrifices from our commercial creditors. So we cannot, as an article of faith now, engage in any kind of excessive spending and that’s putting it mildly. Far more practically though, we cannot do that because with the calamitous plunge in our petroleum revenues, we simply don’t have any extra money to spend. So, the trick now will be to manage operationally with less, far less, by way of government influence. The challenge and the preoccupation is how to reign in local expenditure without compromising our signature pro-poor programs. For these, must and will remain the social and political lifeblood of our administration and this nation.    Conundrum though it is, let there be no doubt that we will do this. And we will do this and we will do this while absolutely refusing to implement any growth stifling tax increases on the Belizean people.”

 

With no tax increases, and expected shortfalls in revenue, cuts are imminent. However, ministries are expected to implement some austerity measures. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

 

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13 Responses for “P.M. says expect austerity measures in budget”

  1. Truthbetold says:

    Give BNE more lease blocks. They are the only oil company that currently provides to the economy, they have the infrastructure and expertise in place and employ 95% Belizean workforce. Why does the GOB keep cutting their lease block and giving other concessions to unknown operators who make false claims and produce nothing but BS. It does not take a brain surgeon to work this out!!

  2. RedBwai says:

    Is this a joke? the government of Belize is really actually gonna try to cut costs/expenditures?? Ha! who are they trying to fool??…everyone knows the government of Belize is the biggest waster of tax payer monies…especially on expensive late model vehicles…now tell me Mr. PM…what about those DFC write offs?? im now hearing there are a few conditions which apply in order to qualify for a total write off…and from what im hearing those conditions are not the same as what those who got SSB write offs got…they sound quite unfair to the majority of those people who have pending loans at the DFC…majority of people borrowed loans exceeding $20,000…and being that the write off threshold now set is for an initial loan of $20,000 or less and not a loan balance of $20,000 or less…this is really unfair to most…Now my family has a pending loan at the DFC, we are struggling to repay with the little income we have coming in…we borrowed about $50,000…remaining payment is about 16,500…now this means my family wont be able to qualify for a write off being that we borrowed more than 20,000…an yes we have paid way way more than 20% of the loan already as is stipulated in order to qualify….i believe at least this fact should let us be able to qualify…its just unfair in my book….

  3. Rod says:

    If we had a leader he would have talked about all the murders going on I the country but nothing we already know how bad the economy is no need to tell us that with all the corruption going on in the jewel it’s no wonder the gov. Is broke. I can’t believe it he talked more about his wife than all the crime happening in the country you should have done the right thing and turned in your resignation you have no morals you see all the people dying and you still don’t care. Half of the Belize economy is still going to the gangs these are the things you should have talked about.

  4. EvEnInGsTaR says:

    Dutty lies!! We still haven’t gotten enough though…

  5. soloo says:

    so so this only means what, that the PM is uncreative to bridge the gap, of a measly 30million dollars and he is already putting all the investors and potential investors to rest and stand down until things supposedly improve, according to him? why the gloom and doom forecast for the nation, so all the graduates this year stay home and don’t come looking for a job because the PM say thing dread and will get worse, now this was your leader speaking and it is he say so !!!

  6. reds says:

    i agree what idiot we have as a leader

  7. Storm says:

    How much can you save by taking gangsters off the government payroll and out of the Ministry of Works?

    The problems is too much spending, too much waste and graft, pure and simple. No responsibility nor discipline in this government.

    Everyone else in the Jewel has to tighten his/her belt until the buckle hits the backbone. That will be good for GOB too, Hon. Barrow.

  8. Business Man says:

    30 million dollars is nothing for a growing economy, plan to grow major sectors, tourism, rice, sugar, shrimp, citrus by at least 5% and your 30 million is covered. Never put a lawyer again as PM it is bad for this country. you can see how his face lights up when he talks of litigation with the Ashcroft group, but he has no clue about business. whata shame, the future looks bleak..

  9. Ricky Malthus says:

    Barrow is wutless. Resign Barrow. You can’t do the job.

  10. Ren says:

    What a joke of a PM.

    You all notice every time the nation is heightened and demanding to hear from their leader, he always comes out and tries to sweeten the crowd by forgiving loans. He worse than Santa now.
    Really Mr Barrow is this the best you got? Just goes on to prove what leader we have..

  11. Kill all the Gang members!!!!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    So yes no money noh deh!!!!

    But why does GOB still keep issuing contracts for persons to work within Government Departments when there are compitent persons within these Department that can be promoted to head of Dept or Commissioner? This in turn would allow for other supervisors to move up and the actual cost to Gob would be far less then paying a $70,000 or $80,000 contract.

    If things are realy that bad then we would expect that Contract workers should be the first to go — why renew contracts if we dont have any money!!!!!!!!

    Public officers can do the same job as contract workers and it would cost the GOB far less!!!!!!!!

  12. A Jew says:

    Will they streamline Gov’t departments across Belize or cut down on buying the latest Land Cruiser and Mitsubishi Montero’s?? It will be hard for the Govt which are already use to living the life to cut down. They should also cut down on their big salaries too..

  13. ang says:

    that amt can be made restructuring asset to produce more locally. Encourage neigborhood gardens, min can ride bikes or use cheap kias slash car and min salaries by 50%

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