Prime Minister Briceno Addresses Rising Inflation
Another issue addressed by the Prime Minister today was the global issue of inflation. By all accounts, the cost of living in Belize over the past couple of years has increased. Prime Minister Briceno via The Morning Show spoke on price increases, his discussions with the private sector, and the government’s views on the issue.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “That people they forget into that. You made a very important point that people in effect vote with their pockets. Am I better off? And when this government went in, and when you look at what we have done in such a short time we increased the minimum wage. Over 40,000 Belizeans were positively affected by it and a few in the private sector were saying “oh, maybe we need to do it in phases.” and we just did it. Everything is still running, the sky did not fall. And so people are better off right now. The challenges is as I mentioned in the other station Estereo Amor is the cost of living. And whilst the cost of living is something that government can’t really control because it’s important. Unfortunately our cost of living is not as high as in other places. For instance, I was speaking to the President of Suriname, President Santoky, their inflation rate was at 55%. I was speaking to the President Fernandez from Argentina and his Minister of Finance and their inflation rate was at 100%. So, small blessings, you know that ours is around 6% but the problem we have there is that we believe that some of the merchants are taking advantage of people. So what we have done in cabinet Minister Dolores has increased the food basket that we want to be able to control, not price control, but control the margin that you can put on these items the basic food items. Most of these things we pay readily tax. So it’s not like government could remove the tax because it’s already zero rated. So we’ll be working on that to be able to try to see how best we could help.”
According to Briceno, people are better off right now and the inflation rate of the country is not as steep when compared to different regions.