Today, the Government announced its plan for economic recovery. Belize’s economy took a massive hit from COVID-19, and experienced some stagnation when businesses were forced to close down, and borders were forced to close. Several programs have already been put in place, such as the unemployment relief program, and the newly introduced loan program for tourism stakeholders. The government stated that they intend to build on these programs while introducing others as well with a view to preserve and increase the availability of jobs. The plan focuses mainly on the tourism and agriculture sectors. Minister of Trade, Investment, and Commerce, Tracy Taegar Panton spoke of the pillars that the plan is built on.
Tracy Taegar Panton, Minister of Trade, Investment and Commerce: “This strategy builds on the following: The ongoing $1.2 billion dollars invested in economic and social infrastructure since 2018. The initial relief programs totaling a value of $233 million that were approved and are now being rolled out to support the larger citizenry and it also takes into account that tourism and agriculture are currently the mainstays of our local economic activity. The economic recovery strategy for Belize is built on five pillars; supporting business recovery, creating a business climate for growth, improving government efficiencies and the conditions for doing business, strengthening of our productive sectors and growing our emerging economy. So how do we respond to business needs, assist firms to reestablish and expand while rehiring the displaced workers and support the creation of new jobs ? You will recall that just two weeks ago we launched phase 2 of the Government Unemployment Relief Program and an economic stimulus support program for micro, small and medium enterprises which is expected to go live this Saturday with a total investment value of $29 million- $14 million allocated to wage subsidies and $15 million for grant support, soft loans and financing of working capital for MSMEs.”
The government’s plan also includes assisting those displaced by COVID-19 by investing $233 million in initiatives that will support Belizean families and protect local jobs. The plan also aims at digitizing several sectors in Belize to allow faster and transparent services to citizens. A full breakdown of the plan can be viewed on the Government’s press office website.