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Nov 18, 2022

New Growth Industries Minister Looks to 2023

Kareem Musa

Earlier this year, the Ministry of New Growth Industries, headed by Minister Kareem Musa, had to take a step back from its push to formalize the cannabis industry in Belize. That is after the Briceño administration decided that it was unable to bear the cost of a referendum in 2022. Well, Minister Musa is hopeful that the cannabis referendum will be held in early 2023. He also told us about other initiatives his ministry is developing, including an ostrich industry, and an ackee industry in Belize.


Kareem Musa, Minister of New Growth Industries

“A lot of people might not be aware of this, but the Ministry of New Growth Industry does not have a budget, which is an incredible thing. It is the only ministry without a budget. But, that speaks volumes with how far we have gotten in a year, because truly it is a visionary ministry, a conceptual ministry and it has captivated a lot of investors across the world, and it has certainly opened up our minds in terms of the capabilities of what we can do that is not taking place in the country. So, it is definitely thinking outside the box. We have seen Ms. Nancy Marin come forward with her ostrich industry, which is about to take off in the coming weeks. We have worked out all the kinks there with BAHA, with our Mexican counterparts, so that has been a work in progress. So, it just goes to show the entrepreneurial spirit of the Belizean people, when we create a ministry like this, so many people thinking outside the box and saying we want to create this new industry in Belize. The cohune industry stills a work in progress. We have the CEO caucus, all the relevant CEOs who meet on a regular basis to see how is it that we can get this particular cohune industry off the ground. We are hoping we can see that take off in 2023. When it comes to cannabis a lot of countries have looked to Belize and said wow, you were able to pass the law in record time, within a year. You have to recall it passed through the House, the Senate, and going through the Senate it is where the referendum was triggered. So, moving forward we will have to make an amendment, since it was passed, to say we will not implement the law until a referendum is held. We are hoping that referendum could be held in early 2023. But of course, that depends on the budget. We have investors coming in wanting to do ackee in Belize. It is not something we eat in Belize, but there is huge demand for it in the United States, the Jamaican Diaspora, which would require us to plant the ackee, create the canary and ship out to the United States.”

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