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Apr 7, 2021

PM Briceño to go ahead with Salary Cuts and Increment Freezes

Prime Minister John Briceño issued a late evening statement saying it is absolutely critical that G.O.B. carry out the public service salary cuts and increment freezes. The Prime Minister described the consultations with the Joint Unions as full frank and courteous. He says his administration took a close look at every aspect of Government’s revenue and expenditure in preparing the 2021/2022 budget, with a view to righting the ship of state. To do this, on Friday he will propose a thirty-one percent cut on the purchase of goods and services by the Government compared to the last budget. This proposal is expected to reduce expenditure by seventy-seven million dollars. Furthermore, a proposal will be made to cut subsidies and transfers by ten percent when compared to the last budget. This is expected to reduce expenditure by nineteen million dollars. Additionally, PM Briceño says his administration expects to negotiate substantial saving, upward of 50 million dollars, on the super bond.

John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize

“In the context of this reduction, it is wrong to regard our consultations to the Unions a only about an adjustment. The consultations covered a lot more. It is important to explain why the discussion were wide ranging and the context in which they were held. Let me frame the challenge, Government is the largest employers n Belize. There are 15 thousand public officers, including four thousand plus employed in the education system, ad four thousand nine hundred in the security and border services. In 2008 when the P.U.P. left office, the wags and pension bill was 262 million dollars. In 12 years under the U.D.P. the wages and pension bill skyrocketed to 677 million dollars. An increase of a hundred and 77 percent or 415 million dollars. I repeat the government has been borrowing about a million dollars a day to pay salaries, pensions and expenses for Goods and services. Last month we were again forced to borrow 13 million dollars for expenses. Earlier today the financial secretary informed me that the Central Bank informed that after mid-April salaries are paid, the Government will have insufficient monies and will be forced to borrow again to meet its obligations at the end of April. The position is critical. Public finances are on life support. We inherited a broke and plundered treasury form the UDP. After careful analysis and consideration, we remain convinced that a salary adjustment of 60 million dollars is necessary. Additionally, we propose to continue the increment freeze which will account for another 20 million dollars annually.”


For the full speech, stay tuned to news five, because this will air right after news.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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