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Feb 9, 2023

Minister Says Gradual Increase of Minimum Wage Was Not Practical

Oscar Requeña

Effective the start of this year, labourers the minimum wage has been raised to five dollars, up from three dollars and thirty cents. And while the increase is welcomed, given inflation and the soaring cost of living, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said that the Briceño Administration did not accept the recommendation made by the task force for a gradual increase to five dollars. Labour Minister Oscar Requeña says that the phased-in approach was not practical. 


Oscar Requeña, Minister of Labour

“Maybe I should invite you to go and do a poll, talk to the workers who are working very hard out there and ask them whether they are not happy that finally, after so long, we saw an increase in the minimum wage. Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you something, we all know the realities that our country is going through. There is a high level of inflation, the cost of living has gone up and yes, in our meetings, in our deliberations and consultations, the chamber had recommended that we phase it in. But that is not being real. We made a commitment under PlanBelize that we were going to increase the minimum wage and I am very happy that we have done well on that commitment that we made. And I am going to say to you, in the beginning there was some noise, you had some employers who were making some noise. But go out there and take a poll, people are going to tell you we want more than five dollars. So can you imagine if we were to phase that in? That’s not practical given the reality of today.”

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