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Chamber asks Government to insulate essential workers from any suggested salary cuts

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Posted: Tuesday, February 9, 2021. 6:14 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Today, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) wrote to Prime Minister John Briceno extending appreciation for their involvement in the budget consultation process.

The chamber listed their budgetary concerns including the question of whether or not the Government of Belize (GOB) should execute a public sector wage cut.

“As you may be aware, the Chamber along with many other domestic and international agencies have maintained an enduring position that Belize’s public-sector wage bill has—since the mid-1990s—surpassed its benchmark indicators for a country our size. This single economic fact has been the source of well-established concerns regarding the sustainability of this country’s finances,” the letter noted.

However, the chamber says that it has adopted the advice from the likes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as it pertains to attrition, which would have allowed the gradual reduction in the wage bill by retiring at a rate lower than the natural rate of retirement or resignations from public service.

And, in the event that government decides on a wage cut, the chamber is asking that government insulates essential, frontline workers from any such cut.

“We need to maintain high morale amongst these essential workers, as they face the challenges of the pandemic head-on,” the letter said.

In addition, the chamber says that government should consider how those on the lower pay scales would be equally affected as those on higher pay scales.

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