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Feb 25, 2022

Belize and the IMF; Favorable Review for Briceño Administration

To address the sharp decline in revenues and the resulting increase in pandemic-related expenses, the Briceño administration presented a Medium-Term Recovery Plan at the start of the fiscal calendar in April 2021. The objective is to reduce the crushing public debt to eighty-five percent of G.D.P. by 2025 and to seventy percent by 2030 which would be achieved by implementing fiscal consolidation, growth-enhancing structural reforms and debt-restructuring. Since then, significant progress has been made towards restoring debt sustainability, including a debt for marine protection swap to buy back the five hundred and fifty-three million U.S. dollar super bond at a discounted price of fifty-five cents to the dollar. Activities in construction, transport and communication, tourism, as well as wholesale and retail trade are projected to further grow real G.D.P. by six point five percent this year. The unemployment rate has also fallen to nine point two percent since the second half of 2021. Earlier this week, Prime Minister John Briceño commented on the favorable review his administration has received from the International Monetary Fund which concluded its 2022 Article Four consultation with Belize on Tuesday.


John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“Well, if you look, overall we have cut down costs, not only on the wage bill but even in the expenses of running the government.  We have managed to cut it down substantially by millions of dollars and the I.M.F. did point that out and commended us for doing that in goods and services.  We held the line and saved millions of dollar from that end. We know that people are suffering, we know that people are punishing, we know that the cost of living continues to go up and it would be unconscionable if we were to say no we’re not going to because of the I.M.F. and I told the I.M.F. that we also have a responsibility to our people, our citizens and we’re going through a difficult time.  It’s not only about the numbers, the financial numbers, but it’s also about people.”

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