Posted: Friday, March 10, 2023. 1:34 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Ministry of Finance projects more than $1.4 billion in revenues along with loan and grant funds to be collected in the new Budget, with $1.496 billion expected to be spent.
Prime Minister John Briceño reiterated the Government’s plans to unfreeze increments for public officers and teachers, which is included in the recurrent revenue of $1.12 billion. $383.4 million will be spent on capital investments and $108 million on debt repayments.
The primary surplus is expected to be $24.3 million, down from about $31 million last year, while average inflation is expected to slow to 4.1 percent, where it was nearly 7 percent last year. The overall deficit is $88.1 million or 1.41 percent of GDP, which is projected at $6.235 billion.
The government will cover Budget financing of $212 million from outstanding loans ($128 million), grants ($30 million), and domestic financing ($54 million).
But the Government’s priority areas have not changed. Infrastructure projects will continue countrywide; support will be given to the free education program in Southside Belize City and Toledo District; Orange Walk residents will see the expansion of the National Health Insurance scheme (NHI); municipalities will receive $3 million in funds for improving streets and drains; $5 million will fund the recruitment of another 225 recruits for the Belize Police Department, 110 recruits for the Belize Defence Force (BDF) and 60 for the Coast Guard, and support for the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) including the establishment of a Civil Asset Recovery Unit.
Briceno also spoke of a campaign to promote Belizean-made products compared to imported ones and supporting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as well as the planned digitization of the Lands and Civil Registries.
The Budget will be debated for the first time across three days – March 22 to 24, Wednesday to Friday, along with other bills.
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