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May 11, 2022

IMF Projects Decline in Primary Balance for 2022

The International Monetary Fund released its 2022 country report on Belize on Tuesday, May tenth. In its report, the IMF took note of Belize’s economic recovery over the last fiscal year. The report says of Belize’s economy, “economic activity is recovering strongly.”  The IMF also noted the near ten percent expansion in real GDP, led by the recovery of the tourism sector. It goes on to speak about the significant improvement in the country’s fiscal position, with a one point seven increase in GDP in the primary balance, principally led by a recovery of cyclical revenue and a decline in public debt. On the other hand, the IMF projects that the primary balance will decrease to zero point one percent, a one point six percent decline, due to actions taken by the Briceño Administration to mitigate the rising cost of fuel. PM Briceño commented on the IMF’s projection.

 

John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“When people were attacking the government for the rise in fuel and we were making the point that we did not raise the taxes. The taxes were already set. We were collecting the same amount of taxes as set by the previous government. But, we understand the situation and that fuel is the engine for the economy. That is what fuels growth. We could not in good conscience say well that is not our fault, internationally and everybody can see it in the world. In the U.S the price of fuel is over four dollars. Areas in California are as high as fourteen dollars. So it is as high as we have it in Belize and they produce their own fuel we don’t. So, we felt that what is our aim, it is to be able to reduce poverty. How do we do that, by growing the economy. But, if we are stifling the economy with a high price of fuel, then we are going o lose the battle, the growth that we want to produce. So, we said we have to make some sort of sacrifice. The IMF looks at numbers. We look at people. We are here to try and make the lives of our citizens better. If that means we have to make to get the IMF upset well so be it. We need to be able to see what we can do. We have every confidence that what we are doing, and our efforts to push the economy, that the primary balance, we hope can improve by the end of the year. If you look at what the IMF was saying to us last year in January it was a bad report they gave. And, towards the end they had to give us credit for the work we are doing.”


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