So how is the Government proposing to spend $1.18 million in the new fiscal year? While the PM gave the breakdown, we can tell you that wages will continue to take up the majority of the expense.
Rt. Honourable Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
“Of this proposed amount, some 422.4 million dollars is for Personal Emoluments; 79 million for Pensions; 235.6 million for goods and services; 184.3 million for subsidies and current transfers and 109.1 million for interest payments on the debt. The rise in current expenditure is driven largely by increases in personal emoluments and in wage related transfers as provisions have been made for the implementation of the third stage of the three years’ salary adjustment package. Madam Speaker, my government is proposing to allocate some 149.7 million dollars to its Capital Program in the upcoming fiscal year, made up of some 66.3 million dollars in locally funded Capital 2 Expenditure and some 81.3 million dollars in the externally funded Capital 3 Expenditure. This is substantial reduction from the protected outturn of 243.5 million in the Capital Program for the current year and is reflective of a policy decision to moderate the level of Capital Expenditure as part of the overall fiscal consolidation, it is also explained though by the fact that many new projects particularly the new road projects are still at their study and design stages when spending is typically lower than in the actual later construction stages. In the Capital 3 budget, provision of over 30 million dollars have been made to finance the following road infrastructure projects; continuation of the Belize City Southside poverty alleviation project phase III, continuation of the upgrading of the Hummingbird Highway, completion of the new Macal River Bridge, design of the new Houllover Bridge, commencement of the rehabilitation work on new sections of both George Price and the Phillip Goldson Highways feasibility study and design of the Caracol road, there is a further 12 million dollars allocation for the completion of the Belize City Sport Centre. In the Ministry of Tourism and Forestry there are allocations of 5 million dollars each and there is a further 8.5 million dollars allocation for the sugar and banana support programs funded by the EU. And here is why, notwithstanding the economic tightening of last year, I will report that government’s recurrent revenues remain buoyant rising by almost 6% over that of the previous fiscal year, I will share the Central Bank of Belize’s forecast that the economy will experience a muscular 3.5% recovery in 2017 with the attendant increase in jobs and investment opportunities and I will outline a financial plan for consolidation that is tailored to boast the revenue, bridle whist and protect the Pro Poor and productive sector incentives that have distinguished this UDP administration. Credit to the private sector expanded last year and its broadcast to broaden even more in 2017, interest rates have fallen yet again and should fall further, the health of the commercial banking system is the best over a decade with non-performing loans falling below 5%, Foreign Reserves easily surpass the adequacy benchmark and corresponding banking arrangements are the steadies they have been since this DE risking challenge first arose. These are the factors which make for optimism, these are the ingredients that help to solve the objective difficulty of our economic and fiscal circumstances, what are those circumstances; sixty cents of every dollars government collects goes directly to wages, pensions and benefits for fourteen thousand public servants while another twenty cents pays for the goods and services that support the needs of our citizens.”
We will have more on the Budget presentation inside the House of Representatives tomorrow.