Headline — 20 February 2015 — by Adele Ramos
New billion-dollar budget to be read on Friday, March 13

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 19, 2015–Amandala was informed by an official of the Ministry of Finance this morning that the new national budget for the fiscal year 2015-2016 is due to be read on Friday, March 13 – that’s the week after the municipal elections are held.

Deputy Financial Secretary Marion Palacio said that their team is still working on putting together the numbers for the budget that will exceed a billion dollars.

The performance for the current budget year is being impacted by a number of factors, including large capital outlays from Central Government for works in the various towns and cities, as well as the salary adjustments implemented for teachers and public officers during the course of the budget year.

Unapproved additional expenses will be summarized in supplementary appropriation bills that will either accompany the new budget or will be tabled after the current fiscal year closes.

As for the nation’s overall economic performance, Palacio said that current indications suggest that the economic performance for 2014 surpassed that for 2013, which registered at a very low 0.7%, although the nation has been struggling with waning oil production and exports.

That was countered by a strong performance in the tourism sector, as well as a rebound in sugar and healthy performance in the agriculture and fisheries sectors. GDP growth is projected to register 2.6% for 2014, according to data published for Belize by the World Bank.

In relation to debt servicing, Palacio said that Belize has been meeting its commitments, and it has already processed the US$13 million interest payment due on the Super-bond tomorrow.

In September, the country will begin to repay the principal portion of the PetroCaribe financing deal, with BZ$4 mil to BZ$4.5 mil becoming due on an annual basis.

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