Belize’s Fiscal Strategy Unveiled: Balancing Loans and Debt Management

Belize’s Fiscal Strategy Unveiled: Balancing Loans and Debt Management

In recent months, we have been hearing of loan motions and grants passing through the House of Representatives.  One of the concerns registered by the opposition is that the Briceno administration may be putting Belize back in deep debt with all the loans they have been getting.  Shedding light on the fiscal situation is CEO Dr Osmond Martinez from the Ministry of Economic Development.  According to Dr Martinez, the government is being strategic with an aim to never put the country back into the level of debt it was in when the new administration took over in November 2020.

Dr. Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Economic Development: “Let me highlight an important point that it hasn’t been mentioned so much in terms of borrowing. First of all, we have to start to look from the root of the problem. So what is the root of the problem here? The root of the problem is that the Briceno administration inherited a high debt. The debt to GDP before COVID-19 was at 101 Debt to GDP was at 101 and then in 2020, it went to 133%. Now, the Briceno administration, through the Blue Bond Transaction and the restructuring of the debt that was done with Venezuela plus the GDP growth that the country has experienced, managed to bring the debt to GDP from 133% to 64% which no other country have done in the world. Belize is the first one to achieve that and that’s according to comments from IMF, the World Bank, multilaterals, and we have seen it as well. So what happened during the restructuring of the debt? The Briceño administration actually opened a space. Okay, why? Because with the super bond it was about 500 million US dollars that were saved for the Belizean people. Then from the restructuring of the Venezuela debt, a loan that the country owes to Venezuela but the Briceño  administration, the PM he went to Venezuela and restructured that loan cutting it down by 50 or 60 percent. You look at that now, within two years and a half it’s almost one billion US dollars, you know, that has been reduced off our total debt stock. And so now think about this the government of Belize have borrowed around $600 million, haven’t borrowed them yet, it’s signed, it’s still in process on projects -“

Troy Gabb, Host, The Morning Show: Since this new administration has gotten in.

Dr. Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Economic Development: “Even with that borrowing, the Briceño administration will never take the debts back to where it was. Why? Because you have open space where you actually say, you know, I will not borrow more. The Belizean people will not owe more than what the Barrow administration left and they have restructured. That’s one thing that the honorable leader of the opposition haven’t said. You know, okay, you borrow but you also restructure meaning you have now an ability to look at saved.”

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