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GOB’s Wage Bill is Massive!

The government’s wage bill is a massive one. Minister of State for Finance Christopher Coye explained that the wage bill accounts for eighty-three percent of recurrent revenues. Because of this, the IMF is recommending that GOB’s fiscal adjustment should include both reducing expenditure and improve revenue-generation. According to the IMF, with regard to expenditures, GOB is appropriately focusing on reducing the wage bill and purchases of goods and services, both of which account for a larger share of GDP in Belize than in peer countries. Minister Coye says that reducing the wage bill is of particular focus. 

Christopher Coye, Minister of State [Finance]: “The wage bill represents about 83% of the current revenues, the recurrent revenues coming in. As a percentage of GDP it depends what figure you use. If you use the smallest figure which is the purely central government wages not including transfers for teachers and not including pensions if you use the smallest we’re already over 10%. If you look at Guatemala as an example their government wage bill is 4%. If you add in the pensions and what is paid to teachers you’re approaching 20%. So we are three, four maybe even five times in terms of the overall wage bill than that of our neighbor and we are ahead of all our neighbors in Central America and the Caribbean so it’s clear that our expenditures both in terms of the wage bill and the over all government expenditures put us as an outlier relative to all these other countries. So it’s something we have to look at.”