Posted: Thursday, April 8, 2021. 7:40 am CST.
By Zoila Palma: On Wednesday, Prime Minister John Briceno gave an update on the state of Belize’s economy and the budget consultations with the unions.
Briceno said that as an integral part of Government’s commitment to consult stakeholders on major issues affecting the welfare of the people and nation, his government held widespread consultations regarding the budget.
Briceno spoke about the dismal state of the economy and public finances and also explained that the private sector and Belizeans in general are experiencing a dramatic slowdown in business, job loss and pay cuts.
The Prime Minister says that the economy contracted by 14% in 2020 and 64,000 Belizeans lost their jobs.
“We urgently need to re-energize the economy and create thousands of jobs,” Briceno said.
In addition, Briceno said that in 2020/2021, government collected far less than projected and the revenues are also expected to fall by 28%.
General Sales Tax collections fell by 32% while total spending was only reduced by 15%.
According to Briceno, there is a huge gap between revenues and expenditures and the country’s annual primary deficit is around $300 million. The Prime Minister reiterated that Government does not have enough money to pay salary, rent and bills and that it is not sustainable to continue borrowing one million dollars a day to meet government’s wage bill.
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