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Apr 21, 2021

Lord Ashcroft Sounds Off on Economic Issues in Belize. Is the IMF a Solution?

Lord Michael Ashcroft

Lord Michael Ashcroft also spoke about the current economic crunch that Belize is facing. Ashcroft says that the government is staring down a tough decision, but one that must be made sooner rather than later.  He put the challenges in context with the unions’ position on proposed measures to say that there are options to pursue, like the I.M.F., but that will also come with consequences, including the potential for a devaluation of the Belizean dollar. Here’s how he puts it.

 

Lord Michael Ashcroft

“There is no point in running away from the fact that the economy is in a serious condition. There is no point in trying to escape that really. So, the issue that the politicians – the government has to face is what the path is now going forward. You can see that it is not possible to balance the budget as things stand. So, something has to break. So, the government looks at the expenditure and says that government expenditures, especially wages – civil servants – is a major component of that especially now in their view trying to address that particular issue. You have seen the consequences of that from the reaction from the PSU, the teachers, the police and others to that measure. But this is also a time to have a look at the income side and I do have a sympathy for the civil servants at the moment of being first in line to take the cut. But I do think that measure should now be taken and there has to be some dynamic leadership which the Prime Minister is trying to put together. We have such things should we enter an IMF program, certainly it is something that should be considered and there is a fear about going into an IMF program but if Belize puts forward its particular red lines for the IMF for discussion, for example, we are not prepared to devalue our currency, then a program with the IMF will give both technical expertise, it will give access to financing; donor contributions and so that side of things does have an advantage.”

 

Marleni Cuellar, Host, Open Your Eyes

“The IMF has warned that if we continue on this path we may very well face devaluation. Do you think that is a reality?”

 

Lord Michael Ashcroft

“Yes, of course it is. There is no doubt by any criteria that the Belize dollars is overvalued against the US dollar.”


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