Posted: Monday, April 12, 2021. 11:43 am CST.
By Zoila Palma: On Saturday, April 10, Belize’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Christopher Coye explained Belize’s ‘critical economic situation’ during a virtual spring meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Coye was joined by Narda Garcia, CEO in the Office of the Prime Minister, and Elvira Mendez, Belize’s Counsellor to the IDB’s Office of Executive Directors.
Minister Coye highlighted the critical condition of the nation’s economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated by a drought that decimated crops in 2019 and 100-year floods caused by hurricanes Eta and Iota in 2020.
“The effect has been dramatic with economic contraction exceeding 14%, debt-to-GDP skyrocketing to 130%, unemployment approaching 30%, fiscal revenue shortfall near 30% and a primary deficit around 8% of GDP,” Coye noted.
In addition, Coye explained the pressing discussion of debt relief that must take a position of priority.
“As challenging as Belize’s experience has been, as a deemed middle-income country (MIC), Belize, like other MICs, has not been a beneficiary of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative. Belize has not been the recipient of resources under the IMF’s Rapid Credit Facility. Belize is not likely to be eligible under the Common Framework. Belize has not been the beneficiary of any debt relief whatsoever,” Coye added.
Coye also expressed the hope, on behalf of small states like Belize, for meaningful debt relief, grant and concessionary funding to successfully avert the dual debt and climate crises with a view to long-term climate resiliency and sustainable economic recovery and transformation.
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