BELMOPAN, Thu 11 February 2021 – The government of Belize released its preliminary analysis of the state of the country’s economy in February 2021. The analysis, which highlights thirteen key aspects of the economic situation, has been released At the same time, this government is engaged in consultations with the social partners in the private and public sectors in order to find mutually acceptable means of closing the budget deficit.
The first part of the analysis describes a constant decline in average income per person since 2008. It notes that âreal GDP per capita has fallen steadily since 2008, from $ 7,412 in 2008 to $ 7,040 in 2019, then in free fall to $ 5,843 in 2020 â.
It is noted in the analysis that the sharp drop in income levels that occurred in 2020 was most likely triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and is the largest drop in average income country since 1992, 28 years ago.
âUnemployment almost tripled in 2020, from 10.4% to almost 30%,â says the analysis.
For this reason, according to the statement, our unemployment rate is now triple the average unemployment rate in Caribbean countries and quadruple the average unemployment rate in Central America.
In a recent interview, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Cordel Hyde, mentioned that nearly 146,000 people are currently unemployed or underemployed in Belize.
As Prime Minister BriceÃ±o reported, government revenues fell nearly $ 300 million or 30% in 2020. This led the previous administration (UDP) to borrow a series of loans, not annexed to the project. already huge national debt law. According to the statement, 36 cents of every dollar spent by the Belize government is currently borrowed.
“83 cents of every dollar of government revenue is spent on wages, salaries and pensions,” the statement added. It is now widely known within the community that the government currently still borrows nearly $ 1 million every day in order to meet the payroll at the end of the month.
The release also said wages and salaries across the public service have nearly tripled since 2008, from $ 234 million that year to about $ 684 million in 2021.
The press release goes on to mention that “it took four successive administrations from independence to 1998 for the government to accumulate $ 700 million in debt, while it took a year for the last government to accumulate financing needs of over $ 500 million in 2020. “
Readers will recall that at the start of the economic fallout, as a COVID-19 response was triggered, former Prime Minister Barrow publicly said his government would borrow as much as needed to bring some relief to the country during this time. .
In total, the public debt has increased by nearly $ 2 billion since 2008, the statement said. Domestic debt, according to the analysis, nearly tripled from $ 333 million to $ 1.3 billion. External debt, other than the super bond, more than doubled, the statement said, from $ 830 million to $ 1.77 billion.
The statement ends by stating that âat 134.1%, Belize now has the highest debt-to-GDP ratio of the entire Caribbean and Central America region. “