Prime Minister Honourable Dr. John Brice�o said during his Independence Day address on Wednesday, September 21, that the most anticipated increase in the minimum wage from $3.5 to $5 per hour would come into effect in January. This update from the prime minister was welcomed by Belizeans across the country, who continue to struggle with inflation affecting the economy due to factors like increased fuel prices. Over the past months, the cost of living has risen to the point that basic food items have doubled or tripled in price, while salaries remain the same. In San Pedro Town, the fastest growing municipality in the country and with the highest cost of living, residents have felt the blow in their pockets as they try to adjust to the continued increase in prices at the stores and other basic services such as transportation. The last time the minimum wage increased was in May 2012 and was phased in over five years between 2007 and 2012.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Honourable Cordel Hyde, during a sitting of the House of Representatives in March, the minimum wage increase would occur in July. In July, the Ministry of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labor, and Local Government informed that they had appointed a Minimum Wage Task Force in March to oversee the gradual implementation of the $5 increase. A call for local and regional proposals was made, and a selection process took place to choose a consultant firm. By June, PPF Capital Belize Limited became the successful applicant, and along with the minimum wage task force, consultations were reportedly made countrywide with stakeholders and the public. The consultancy firm will submit a plan to gradually implement the $5 minimum wage increase at the end of their consultancy. This process continues across the country. After the consultancy, the next step to introducing the minimum wage is legislating the motion through a statutory instrument. The policy is to be implemented in January.

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