Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2020. 12:31 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Prime Minister Dean Barrow, speaking on Belize’s road to economic recovery after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, says he believes whichever political party forms the next Government of Belize following the upcoming general elections will have to engage in an International Monetary Fund Program.
Barrow stressed that while it is important to remain hopeful for Belize’s economic recovery, the global reality is that first world countries who are also suffering economically under the pandemic, are projecting economic hardship for some time into the future. Barrow said that he believes any sense of serious optimism about a strong early recovery is misplaced.
He also said that the next government will have to seek assistance from international funding agencies, and that assistance will come with conditions.
“A conditionality for the assistance you seek is in fact, pension reform, is in fact the trimming of the wage bill, is in fact retrenchment in the public sector,” Barrow said.
He also said that if he found himself in the position of facing those conditions, he would find a way to avoid taking those measures, but that those measures cannot be avoided indefinitely.
“Bottom line, I grieve for my poor Belize and I certainly extend my sympathies from now to those that will have to deal with that particular problem,” Barrow added.
He noted in previous press conferences that the government’s collection of revenue, which was projected at $90 million per month, fell to $45 million in April and is projected to only be about $11 million in May. Barrow pledged to borrow as much as possible to ensure that public officers’ salaries are covered. He did note today that Belize has no chance of further commercial borrowing post-pandemic.
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