Posted: Monday, December 23, 2019. 9:38 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: By definition, Belize is currently experiencing a recession – defined as two or more consecutive quarters of contraction in the gross domestic product (GDP).
Revised Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) figures show a contraction of negative zero point four percent in the third quarter of 2019 after a contraction of negative zero point eight percent was recorded in the second quarter.
However, the government led by Prime Minister Dean Barrow says it remains optimistic that the country will record economic growth during the fourth quarter of this year.
The SIB said that the percent change within the secondary sector was affected by a fall in electricity production, adjusted from a 4.5 percent rate of growth to a decrease of 10.8 percent.
As a result, the total gross domestic product (GDP) for the quarter was also affected, going from a growth rate of 1.8 percent to 0.4 percent.
Prime Minister Barrow, speaking with reporters, noted that there was a 5 percent growth in the first quarter, meaning Belize is still on a positive track.
“…I certainly believe that the last quarter will provide the kind of bump that will make sure that when we report next year, soon as the figures are in, it will be clear that the recession has been passed through and is in the rearview mirror,” he said.
This comes even as he acknowledged that the ongoing drought situation had adversely affected the sugar industry, with the crop projected to start much later than normal.
And the promised help for affected sugar farmers is on the way if delayed until after the New Year.
“Remember that we did come up with a package to try to help everybody who suffered from the drought. I think there was some offer to farmers that they didn’t find satisfactory. We are going through the processes of getting the additional help externally that was promised to us.
“It’s taking some time but we don’t control the situation in that regard. I still believe that overall there is going to be growth in the fourth quarter. We have to wait and see. I don’t think that I will be proved wrong,” he concluded.
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