Is the PM’s stimulus package smoke and mirrors?
In last Friday’s House meeting in the capital, it was an all out shouting match between the current and former prime ministers. The recession and economic depression were the source of the verbal blows between Dean Barrow and Said Musa. The Fort George Area Representative said quite vehemently “The so-called stimulus package that the Prime Minister announced in his budget speech was simply a recycling of the Capital Three foreign funded budget.” Musa meant that whether or not there was a recession, the government would have borrowed money from international lending agencies for the upkeep of the country’s infrastructure; just a cheap magic trick full of smoke and mirrors to fool the public. Musa charged that he felt it was disturbing that “several of these projects in the budget and we’re coming to the end of it now, of the budget year that is, and these projects have not even started yet.” But is Barrow’s stimulus package full of just caffeine or the quick fix of an energy drink? We’ll leave if for you to decide.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow“Next year ten U.S. million dollars more on top of the forty million we’ve already had to pay this year; twenty million Belize more must be added to our repayment in the course of the year for this super bond. The options for small countries in the face of a global recession are limited. But whatever a small country can do is being done by us and we gave notice of that well before even the recession even arrived. Before there was a recession, we indicated that there was a stimulus package that we were putting in place and we gave the details of the stimulus package. Now of course, the bulk of the stimulus package was in consequence of flows from abroad but that is the way it has to be for small countries. Getting those flows is no mean feat because in order to qualify for the flows, let me give you a concrete example. In order to resume the lending program of the world bank, the premiere international financial institution to this country. We had to demonstrate that we would not be like our predecessors that I would not be like you and that we would operate on the basis of transparency. This government is clear on the strategy for overcoming the recession. It is to pour money into the public sector investment program as a way of driving the economy generally, but particularly as a way for creating jobs for poorest of the poor in this country.”Barrow also pointed out ongoing private developments as a source of investor confidence. http://www.channel5belize.com/archive_detail_story.php?story_id=26117
Live and let live