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Belize’s economy “recovering,” says P.M., “but we still have a ways to go”

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Posted: Monday, June 7, 2021. 1:14 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Due to the idea of expanding agricultural exports and rebounding tourism, Belize’s economy is in a much faster recovery mode, Prime Minister John Briceno told Channel 5 News’ Open Your Eyes today.

30 thousand heads of cattle have been sold since that industry was restarted last November and has been joined by chicken and eggs, and producers have been having their best year in a while as Belize has limited imports and produced more of what we eat.

New tourism projects are being developed at Caye Chapel and elsewhere and hundreds of jobs have been restored for existing tourism and agricultural properties as well as at the Commercial Free Zone.

This has a more direct impact, the P.M. said, than his predecessors’ “social programs”: “what can you do with a family on a $150 a month?” he asked in reference to the amount paid by the Unemployment Relief Program getting underway at this time last year.

Still, the P.M. said, we have “a ways to go” to get out of the economic slump that began before the COVID-19 pandemic, with multiple quarters of economic contraction.

Part of that is the development of new industries and sources of funding. The P.M. mentioned providing loan facilities to tourism and agricultural enterprises and expanding the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

He also spoke of restructuring the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) to restore their power of granting permits following Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and/or Environmental Compliance Plans (ECPs) to speed up projects.

And he announced plans for a state visit to Mexico in September, where one of the key topics will be building a Partial Scope Agreement with that country governing exports.

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