Today the was the first day of the budget debate where Ministers on both sides of the aisle gave their input on the Public budget for the fiscal year 2015 to 2016. Last year’s budget was described as a noodles budget by the opposition leader. This year, he had a different description. Here are some highlights of today’s budget debate.
“The 2015-2016 Budget is a ‘borrow and spend’ budget. It is a budget founded upon no consultation, as usual, and grounded in no economic development plan; it offers no new investments in the Belizean economy…no new tourism projects, no new agricultural investments, no manufacturing projects, no new investments in housing development, no investments in arts and culture, youth and sports; no tax reform; no governance reform. Mister Speaker, if you are indeed serious about Belize’s growth and development, if transformation, Mr.Prime Minister, is to be more than a catchy political slogan …”
“I want to change the word ‘spend,’ but I might be unparliamentary . My choice of words if I were to say what they did with the money because it was certainly not to spend it on the people. Talking about borrowing, when the PUP came to power in 1998, our national debt was just a little above $500 million I recall. In the 10 years that they were the Government, they took that figure up to 2.2 billion dollars – with a B.
“Mister Speaker, this budget is all puppy show you know, this is puppy show. And I say it is puppy show because the very Prime Minister is saying it is puppy show when he is telling us that he is coming back in six months time with another budget. Why is he coming back with another budget in six months time, Mister Speaker, if this ya one dah noh puppy show – if in this one the governments figures mean absolutely nothing and are just wasiting people time. Well you know in his conclusion, the Prime Minister seems to be reminding himself that the cycle of economics, in the cycle of economics, where we know that the government is rolling in money, but it will not last forever And then all those loans will have to be paid back and the tragedy, the sad thing is that its not them that have to pay it back, it’s the Belizean people that will have to pay it back.”
The budget speech will continue tomorrow, at 9:00 am at the House of Assembly in Belmopan.