BELIZE CITY, Belize. Fri. Aug. 20, 2021– The PUP administration held a meeting last week to inaugurate their Core Working Group and discuss their Plan Belize Medium Term Development Strategy (PBMTDS). This strategy is based on six goals, according to Mr. Carlos Bol, Senior Economist in the Policy and Planning Unit of the Ministry of Finance. These goals are centered on Poverty Reduction, Economic Transformation and Growth, Trade Deficit Reduction, Citizen Security, Protection of the Environment, and Stopping Corruption.
Bol, in his remarks to members of the media, said, “The objective of today’s meeting, well first it was the inaugural meeting. We will have more meetings to come as we move along in the preparation phase. We are in the preparation phase right now of the new Medium Term. So, the Committee was asked to come in to review terms of reference, review work plan, review guiding questions that we will be asking our stakeholders and review the entire process. Once we get their approval then we move to the next level of actually doing the meetings – doing the actual consultations. First, we will be able to get the information that will help us to define what the strategy will be and to come up with an action plan that will have strategic actions, that will be achieved during the period 2021-2025.”
One of the main goals that are set out in the plan, according to Bol, is a reduction of poverty in the country by “50% in a period of ten years”. This goal is accompanied by a list of strategic actions with baseline indicators and targets to track progress. Accompanying actions include reducing unemployment in Belize, increasing exports while simultaneously reducing imports, reducing crime, safeguarding natural resources, and carrying out anti-corruption political reforms.
Dr. Osmond Martinez, CEO in the Ministry of Economic Development and Investment, has been appointed Chairperson of the Committee tasked with leading his team to seeing the strategy to fruition. Dr. Martinez said that the strategy should be fully formalized by Mid-December of this year. He said that the strategy has already been approved by Cabinet.
Notably, among the stakeholders involved in the execution of the Medium-Term Strategy is Mr. Hugo Gonzalez, who will be acting as the ATLIB representative on the team.
“Basically, for years, academia has not been consulted on issues of this nature and so, first and foremost, I must mention that I’m very grateful to CEO Dr. Osmond Martinez for giving us the opportunity to be here and partner with the Ministry of Economic Development to carry out this function. Our role basically is to guide, to be consultants and to review documentation and ensure academia has its place in the economic development strategy that the Ministry is working on,” said Gonzalez.