Last week, we told you about the report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in which it was stated that the country’s GDP to debt ratio had fallen significantly. Explaining the numbers is the CEO of the Ministry of Economic Development, Dr Osmond Martinez.
Dr. Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Economic Development: “For the first time in Belize’s history, we have 9.8% growth and it is important to compare the Barrow administration on first year performance and the Briceño administration on first year performance In 2009 GDP growth was 0.3% and now it’s 9.8% One of the things the general public says is they don’t feel that benefit and I just want tell you that growth is recovery. Why? Because last year GDP contracted 15.6% and now growth is 9.8%, which means we are still not at the 2019 levels. Okay? What the government has done very well is in the management of the debt, the debt of the country, thanks to which there has been a restructuring from the Super Bond to the Blue Bond and nothing that on this restructuring and the payment of the Super Bond, Belize managed to save 500 million BZD and yes, but there is growth. this. Even if it’s recovery, it’s growth and public officials will now enjoy their 10% pay cuts which will be returned to them.
Dr. Martinez further explained that the country’s economy can continue to experience gradual growth if we can balance imports and exports, among other factors.
Dr. Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Economic Development: “When we import, we also import inflation and so, for example, if you’re buying a computer right now and the computer in the United States was 5 or 10 percent more expensive than last year, when you bring that article in the country you are also bringing inflation and therefore 53% of Belize’s GDP is imported and therefore helping the productive sector is key. We have a program, for example, with the Resilient Rural Belize program under the EFAD funds that was sitting there from 2018 and also has a GCF component of the Green Climate Fund, and that’s 40 million BZD dollars and which has different components on it. One of them is capacity building; 2. Is to help with marketing; 3. Is to help develop infrastructure to have road access and better communication from farm to market and so on, but we need to do more. On top of that, I mean as Belizeans, we need to look at other opportunities where we can have value-added products. So, for example, we produce pineapples. We export pineapple juice, but we import millions of dollars worth of processed pineapples. So why not process the pineapple here? We have the ability to produce. Then we produce bins. We export bins but we import processed bins. We import millions of dollars worth of processed bins each year. Why don’t we produce this value-added product in Belize? So one of the things that the country and the economy needs to move forward is that our currency should have more transactions within our ecosystem before it comes out. It just means, for example, every time you buy fuel, that first transaction, money leaks out of our ecosystem, and then it won’t reach full employment and full growth. So the more transactions we have the better, thanks to that the macroeconomy will be stabilized because we have an unstable macroeconomy for which we have worked very hard to stabilize it and I think we have done a good job on the first year, but there is still a lot of work to do.