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PM Barrow says stipends for the unemployed to be disbursed this week; discusses other financial measures

Posted: Monday, March 30, 2020. 2:35 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: As Belize enters a national state of emergency, its first as an independent nation, Prime Minister Dean Barrow reiterated Belize’s state of preparedness.Belize, he said, is self-sufficient in basic staples and can feed herself for the long haul, hence there is no need to panic.Most major institutions will stay open, albeit with reduced hours and services, cargo will still come in and local producers will be facilitated to provide their Important goods.

On the health front, Barrow says Belize has nearly $20 million to spend on health supplies – more than than the estimated $12 to $15 million cost by the Ministry of Health for six months of supplies.

This could theoretically lead to equipment oversupply, though as Barrow admits there can never be enough. $13 million more is coming from the Inter-American Development Bank.But the bigger concern, he says, is shoring up the economy and helping those in most urgent need.

The disbursements of stipends for unemployed, to start this week, come from the $75 million from Central Bank and contributions from the utility companies. More will be borrowed for boosts to BOOST, the conditional cash transfer program, and the Food Pantry Assistance Program.

More details will be provided at a press conference organized tomorrow, Tuesday morning in Belize City.

 

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