Prime Minister Dean Barrow presented his budget during today’s presentation in parliament. This budget, according to Barrow, is at one point three billion dollars larger than it was when he first came to power eleven years ago.
Jose Sanchez: “The Prime Minister wrote his budget for 2019, 2020 and he feels the economy is doing better than last year.”
Prime Minister o f Belize Dean Barrow: “According to the Central Bank of Belize the outstanding external debt as of 2018 totaled $2.56 billion, the equivalent of 66.4% of GDP while the domestic debt stood at $1.045 billion or 27.2% of GDP. This gave rise of a total debt of $3.601 billion or 93% of GDP.”
Jose Sanchez: “The PM reviewed the fiscal performance of the country over the last fiscal period.”
Prime Minister o f Belize Dean Barrow: “I can report that the Government is protecting the outcome for the fiscal year 2018, 2019 to outperform the budget that was approved by the House last year. What a difference from when they used to in fact bring a budget that we all knew from the start was hollow and that ended up being absolutely, completely wide of the estimates. We therefore expect Madam Speaker that to achieve a primary surplus of 2.2% of GDP and to limit the overall deficit to only 0.3% of GDP. Total revenue and grants are projected at $1.174 billion almost $9 million below but this is more than compensated for by total expenditure that is $1.186 billion or $22.8 million. Going forward the Central Bank projects that the pace of Belize’s economy growth will decelerate slightly to 2.8% in 2019. There will be output expansion in privy activities and continued growth in the Service Industries.”
Jose Sanchez: “This particular budget contains the social programs that the UDP Administration had made a critical part of its legacy. What is non negotiable is in the balancing act we must perform with steadfastness to our pro poor policies. This budget therefore continues the unstinting support for boost and food pantry, for the Apprenticeship Program, for the highschool subsidies, for the payment by GOB of students CXC exams, for funding of the second chance opportunities, for a plethora of tuition assistance and full scholarships and for construction of new classrooms, rural water supply systems, health posts and polyclinics.”
Jose Sanchez: ‘The PM reviewed the summary estimates for 2019, 2020.”
Prime Minister o f Belize Dean Barrow: “The proposed budget targets a primary balance, a positive 2.1% of GDP and an overall balance of -0.7% of GDP. Total expenditure is budgeted at $1.256 billion while total revenue and grants are estimated at $1.27 billion. When taken together these results in a small overall deficit of $29.4 million which is the equivalent of that 0.7% of GDP. To this figure we must apply $103 million for loan amortization requirements bringing the total financing requirement to $132.5 million.”
Jose Sanchez: “And though the PM spoke well of his twelve stanza the words of interest that would speak of the multi million dollar loans for roads and infrastructure projects would wake the sleeping giant across the house floor. Jose Sanchez for Love News.”
The budget will be debated on March 25 and 26 in Belmopan.