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Prime Minister highlights economic recovery measures

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Posted: Friday, April 9, 2021. 11:34 am CST.

By Zoila Palma: During the budget presentation held today at the Sitting of the House of Representatives, Prime Minister John Briceno shared some measures in the economic recovery plan.

Briceno said that Government will work with a debt management unit consisting of officials from the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank.

Another measure is that ongoing negotiations are being held to re-structure the Superbond and a creditor committee will propose new terms for the obligations.

“Renewal, reform and rebound…..,” Briceno said speaking about the budget and the recovery plan.

In addition, there will be an active review of other classes of public debt; those would allow short term fiscal space with either write off- payment deferment or coupon reduction.

Briceno said that there is need for diligent debt management to meet Government’s gross financing needs.

The Prime Minister said that Belize and Taiwan has signed a new 4-year Memorandum of Understanding guaranteeing critical loan and grant support.

“ In the words of the IMF article 4, the key policy for Belize is to restore public debt sustainability and strengthen the currency peg. Public debt must be sustainable and managed for public good,” Briceno reiterated.

The Prime Minister also said that the fiscal recovery rests not only on wage adjustment.

“ The wage adjustment is necessary but it is no fiscal elixir, it is far from sufficient…… The $60 million in salary adjustment and $20 million forgone for increment and allowance is one step in this hard slump back of fiscal finesse,” Briceno added.

The Government also plans to drastically reduce spending on goods and services, a reduction of $78 million.

A reduction in interest payments is also programmed at $53 million less, according to the Prime Minister.

Briceno said that Government’s recovery plan is not without risks since natural disasters and COVID-19 variants could impact the recovery plans.

If such occurs, Briceno says Government would need to implement a more aggressive recovery program.

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