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Prime Minister okay with upsetting the IMF over fuel subsidies, “We must help our people”

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Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2022. 5:17 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) latest forecast for Belize does not look good, with expectations that the country’s primary balance forecast to fall to 0.1 percent of GDP by the end of the year; a sacrifice Prime Minister John Briceno says that his administration is willing to make if it helps Belizeans get out of poverty.

The IMF took issue with measures rolled out by the government of Belize to address the rising cost of fuel, such as absorbing the increase in diesel, saying that such actions will not bode well for economic growth in the medium-long term.

In response, Briceno said that the government is not looking at economic growth for the sake of it, but is rather seeking to better the lives of Belizeans and that goal is only attainable through economic growth.

“What is our aim? Our aim is to be able to reduce poverty. How you reduce poverty is by growing the economy, but if we’re stifling the economy with a high price of fuel then we are going to lose the battle, we are going to lose the growth that we are going to produce,” Briceno said.

Briceno said that the decision will have its drawbacks but while the IMF looks at numbers, the Government of Belize looks at people and has a responsibility to those people.
The IMF looks at numbers, we look at people.

“We’re here to try our very best to make the lives of our citizens better and if that means we have to get the IMF upset, well so be it, We need to be able to see what we can do,” he added.

Briceno also pointed out that last year the IMF had a negative forecast for Belize and later had to recant and congratulate his administration for the work that they were doing in economic growth and the positive impact it had on the economy.

 

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