Bits and Pieces from the Budget

Just before the February general elections the Belize Bank extracted from the Belize economy $60 million dollars in repatriated profits.

The national debt today stands at $2.249 billion. $2.135 billion of this is public sector debt. The publicly guaranteed debt to private operators amounts to $95.2 million.

Government’s biggest external obligation is the Super Bond for $546.8 million. It carries a step-up interest rate of 4.25 to 8.5 percent and is to be amortized over a 10 year period beginning in August 2019. Belize is settting aside $63.9 million a year to meet these higher payments.

Government is to revive the DFC with a $25 million loan from the Caribbean Development Bank. The DFC is needed to assist small developers and to help students with student loans.

Belize’s mini refinery will start to produce diesel, kerosene, and gasoline later this year, perhaps by September but supplying only 30 percent of the country’s needs. This will save millions of dollars in foreign exchange and will reduce somewhat the cost of fuel. The government will benefit from an excise tax on this locally produced fuel.

The General Sales Tax has produced $175 million in revenue for the government. Income Tax is also performing well. Both will do better with better management skills where everyody pays his fair share.

Belize Energy Limited has agreed to pay an additional surcharge on windfall profits of not less than 10 percent which is going to increase the flow of revenue and allow the government to put in place some capital impovement.

Government has decided not to sell off any more tracts of land at least for the time being. The last tract tto be sold was on Ambergris Caye for an estimated $11 million.

$2 million dollars have been set aside in the Budget for low income houses and another million is to help low income persons to get proper title for their land.

Education, health and infrastructure have received a big boost from the Barrow Government. $6.5 million will be spent to upgrade the Pacencia Road, and $4.8 million have been set aside for sugar roads. $6.5 million will be spent on health reform and $3.5 million for vocational education.

Government will revise its financial management legislation to make sure that “never again” will crooked politicians be able to divert the revenues of Belize to enrich private enterprise. Government is putting its best minds to work and has recruited the help of overseas partners for this exercise.

Live and let live