Posted: Thursday, April 8, 2021. 7:42 am CST.
By Zoila Palma: Prime Minister of Belize, John Briceno, in a recorded statement released late Wednesday said that Government remains convinced that a salary adjustment is necessary.
“Government is the largest employer in Belize with 15,000 public officers, including 4,000 plus in the Education sector and 4,900 in security and border protection,” Briceno said, and the burgeoning wage bill cannot continue.
Briceno noted that when the PUP left office in 2008, the wages and pensions bill was at $262 million per year and 12 years later after the UDP, the bill is at $677 million per year. This, according to Briceno, is unsustainable.
“Government has been borrowing 1 million per day to pay salaries, pensions and expenditures,” explained Briceno. The PM also noted that the Central Bank has confirmed that after the mid-April salaries are paid, government will have insufficient funds and will need to borrow again to meet the end of April salaries.
Although, the unions have not agreed with government that the adjustment is needed, Briceno said that government remains convinced that a salary adjustment is necessary to save $60 million in the new budget. Another $20 million is expected to be saved from the increment freeze which the Briceno government intends to pursue as well.
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