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Government touts “home-grown solution” in response to IMF

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Posted: Sunday, March 14, 2021. 3:15 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Government of Belize maintains that its Homegrown Economic Recovery Plan is the medicine for Belize’s economic woes as outlined in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Article Four Consultation preliminary report, released Friday.

This plan, it said in a statement given after the report was released, has four “equitable pillars:”, restrain spending and rebuild revenue capacity; restructure debts by reducing principal and lowering interest payments; honing capital investments to only those with the highest social and productive premiums; and to incentivize and engender economic growth by facilitating bona fide foreign and domestic investments that prioritize jobs and exports.

The recovery plan, Government says, meets the charge of the IMF, which says Belize “will require a fine balancing act involving ambitious, yet realistic, fiscal consolidation, growth-enhancing structural reforms, and debt restructuring, all aimed at targeting reduction of the public debt to 60 percent of GDP by 2031.”

The Plan, it adds, will inspire confidence and provide relief for our poor, stimulate jobs and growth, restore health to the public finances and preserve the peg. In this endeavor, and empowered by massive mandates at the national and municipal levels, the Government will continue its active collaboration with social partners and the citizenry.

GOB also acknowledged the “grim assessment” of Belize’s current position, which it points out that it has been talking about before and after November’s general election. Specifically, it reminds that Belize was and is in a prolonged recession starting well before COVID-19; that the previous government had borrowed some $700 million in the pre-election period of 2019/2020; and that the UDP left behind an economic and fiscal wasteland.

It says plainly, “There should be no remaining doubts about what this new Administration inherited. The UDP borrowed for years to meet Government’s operating costs, including salaries. Those borrowings have reached 130% of annual GDP or about $4.2 billion. The economy is sputtering. Unemployment is widespread. These conditions are clearly unsustainable.”

 

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