BELMOPAN, Fri. Feb. 12, 2021– In a regular session on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño, discussed measures to make Belize more self-sufficient during times of economic crisis and COVID-19.
The Cabinet welcomed the Economic Recovery Advisory Team’s mid-term report. This team is tasked with recommending and engineering sustainable economic activity and protecting and generating employment as part of an effort to emerge from the ongoing economic crisis. The nine ministerial groups were then assigned to review the recommendations and advise on their implementation in a report that is to be submitted to the Cabinet at its meeting at the end of February for immediate consideration.
The Cabinet also approved the reinstalment of the National Trade Negotiating Commission (NTNC). The commission, which will consist of representatives of the private sector, civil society and government, will provide guidance and advise the Government on matters pertaining to trade policy, negotiation, and information-sharing. Its purpose is to allow communication between the private and public sector; and participation in trading sessions, when appropriate.
The Cabinet gave the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology its approval to revisit the Belize Sector Reform Project II. This initiative is a loan project between the Government and the Caribbean Development Bank that will provide funding for projects that make the primary and secondary school environment more conducive to learning. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cabinet believes the project needs to be revisited to ensure optimal benefits to Belizean students.
The Cabinet also indicated support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trading, and Immigration’s request for the replacement of the country’s obsolete and outdated passport system with new and modern electronic passport systems. This shift would make the passport system biometrically more secure and efficient.
Finally, in response to the contraction of the local milk industry by fifty-three percent (53%) in January 2021 due to decreased milk purchases, the Cabinet supported the formation of a working committee to include dairy producers to find ways to establish the necessary environment for the growth of the competitive dairy industry and to find solutions for optimizing the use of excess milk on the market.