PM Says No to IMF Programs; Speaks of Upcoming Fiscal Year and Taxes

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Updated: December 13, 2016

As we reported on Monday there is the suggestion for the Government of Belize to adapt programs designed by the IMF to have a more stable financial outlook outside of the proposals presented to the bondholders.  There designed programs by the IMF are known to be somewhat draconian and with that we asked Prime Minister Dean Barrow if he is considering this option.

DEAN BARROW

“I don’t know that it is accurate to say that the commitments we gave in terms of fiscal discipline were not satisfactory to the bond holders, it is true that there have been suggestions that we perhaps ought to go into an IMF program so that there could be a guarantee of the discipline that we all agree is desirable. We are not going to do that, we are confident that we can do what needs to be done on our own without the IMF and that is how we are going to proceed. I think there is a good chance that there will be a definitive decision before February 20th . I wouldn’t expect that to come at the next meeting because I think that is when we are just going to get into the details of Belize’s proposals and get a response from the bond holders. So far we’ve set out the broad contours, we know basically what is in issue but the devil is always in the details and those details won’t be discussed until the next meeting which we are hoping to have before the end of the year. In early next year we expect a follow on meeting from the end of year meeting and there is where I think we are going to hopefully be coming close to a solution that will see a successful restructuring.”

So if the IMF programs are not being factored then just what will the Government do? And what specific measures will be taken as they relate to cutting expenditure and raising the GDP?These are questions we posed to the Prime Minister Barrow.

DEAN BARROW

“It’s what I said, clearly there is a great deal of stakeholder consultation taking place and until those are concluded I don’t know exactly what form the budget will take. We do know that there is a need to either cut expenditure or raise revenue or both but the modalities of achieving those objectives are still being worked on and I can’t speak until they are concluded.”

As we reported yesterday a follow up meeting is expected before the year’s end.