Proposed budget for fiscal year 2015-2016.

As we told you earlier in our news cast the House of Representatives met today in Belmopan where the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dean Barrow, presented government’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015-2016 titled “Continuing the Transformation.”  According to the Prime Minister his government is proposing to spend Bz$1.1 billion during the upcoming fiscal year starting on April 1st. Revenue and Grants are estimated at $980 million, while the proposed budget calls for a deficit of $88 million or 2.5% of the country’s GDP.

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Dean Barrow- Prime Minister of Belize

“Our debt strategy has been complemented by our fiscal strategy, which has been to contain current expenditure to within the budgeted figures exepting in their agreed salary increases for staff and teachers. On the other hand, we consciously stimulate growth  and employment by stepping up capital expenditure on inter alia infrastructure development. So government has been careful not to expend current expenditure above current income and on the capital side, we have selected run off programs that have a well defined implementation opening and end.”

 

 

GOB plans to add a further $86 million for Loan Amortization requirements, and so arrive at the Total Financing Needs of $174 million. The proposed budget for fiscal year 2015-2016 will be debated on Thursday, March 26 and Friday, March 27 in the House of Representative. The government also set aside 4 million dollars in the proposed budget to be paid to Venezuela as the first instalment towards the Petro Caribe Loan from APBEL in the total sum of US $114,307,356 covering the period September 2012 to August 2014. Today another Petro Caribe Loan motion rolled into the house for approval- that is for an additional US $28.8 million dollars during the period 2014 to 2015 to be paid in 23 equal instalments over a period of 25 years, inclusive of a two year grace period. The rate of interest, which is what makes this loan agreement so popular, is 1% per anuum payable on the outstanding balance. By now it is no secret that the Venezuelan Petrocaribe program which was established by the late President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez, is rather unstable, however, the Prime Minister said the country will continue to enjoy the benefits of this program for as long as it lasts despite its clear instability.

 

Dean Barrow- Prime Minister of Belize

“If we were to set a side this run off spending for a moment, the recalculated primary balance would be in surplus, equivalent to 0.095 of GDP, and the recalculated overall deficit would be 2.57& of GDP. The point being Mr. Speaker, that our core numbers are absolutely  sustainable, but for as long as PetroCaribe lasts, we will take full advantage of this extraordinary opportunity gifted us by Venezuela to engage in this extraordinary, people centred , spending. But inherent in our approach is the recognition of and the preparation for the fact that there will come a time when we will quickly need to return to regular budgeting and spending but long may that time be postponed.”

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