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Aug 27, 2020

The Stress of COVID-19 on Income; G.O.B. Economic Response

Chris Coye

The economy contracted as much as twenty-three percent between April and June due to COVID-19.  Most sectors felt the devastating effects of the pandemic rending thousands of Belizeans jobless.  Today, the government said that the Unemployment Relief has run into trouble since inaccurate information has been provided to the banks by the applicants and money will be not disbursed until the information is corrected.   On Wednesday, Attorney Chris Coye recommended lowering interest rates to jumpstart the economy and the creation of jobs.


Chris Coye, Attorney

“I think that the Central Bank has taken an initiative to create liquidity in the banking system, but it hasn’t gone far enough so the interest rates in the banking system have remained high. And in other to enable economy activity to come about, it’s important that interest rates be reduced substantially from where it currently is and so Central Bank has to play a very aggressive role in bringing interest rates down; in taking non-traditional actions. In many ways, what was done in the great depression the type of action that needs to be taken is whatever action can be done must be done to get the country moving again. The unemployment relief programme and the food assistance programme—both of those are necessary in the current circumstances, but at the same time what is missed is the focus on the private sector in trying to engineer the private sector’s recovery. And I go back to what I discussed earlier as far as interest rates, I think not nearly enough is being done or has been done in respect of getting interest rates down. I think the effort with DFC with ten million at six percent; that’s really a drop in the bucket as to what really needs to be done in terms of getting the private sector and the overall economy moving; the creation of jobs through the private sector. That in addition to what government could be doing from a public sector standpoint to create jobs as well. So I would say that a lot more needs to be done and a lot more within the financial system and the banking sector, in particular, can be done to help to restart this economy and to get us to full economic recovery.”

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