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Mar 9, 2023

Government of Belize Announces Phased Approach to Pension Reform

Henry Charles Usher

The Government of Belize is moving full steam ahead with its planned public sector pension reform. Conversations surrounding pension reform surfaced back in early February when, at a joint union press conference, Dean Flowers, the President of the Public Service Union, announced that G.O.B. had proposed to reform the current public service pension scheme. Since then, we have heard from a number of government officials speaking on the unsustainability of the current plan and the need for it to be changed. Well, today G.O.B. announced that it has decided to take a phased approach to the reform process. According to a Cabinet brief, in phase one, the government plans to institute a new contributory pension scheme applicable only to new entrants into the Belize Public Service, effective July first. The release goes on to say that phase two will include a comprehensive review of the existing Public Service Pension Scheme to determine how to make it more effective, efficient and sustainable. A working group will be established, including the government, the Joint Union Negotiation Team, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, the Grant Aided Managing Authority of Schools and the private sector. On Wednesday, reporters asked Henry Charles Usher, the Minister of Public Service, about a request being made by unions to review audits of the current scheme.


Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service

“In terms of, I think for all funds there has to be proper accounting and proper auditing of those funds. And, certainly what the unions are requesting is not something they can’t get. We try to share with them as much information as possible. I know in our last meeting last week, Minister Coye shared some information when it happened with the budget and so on and the fiscal performance of last year. And, we try to make sure that we engage with them as much as possible. They have agreed also to reorganize the Revenue Enhancement Committee and the Cost Saving Committee. These are committees that were set up a few years ago and they had made some proposals and we want to make sure that we get those going again to see where possibly we can save in cost and generate more revenue to make sure we can meet our fiscal projections.”

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