The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that Belize’s GDP will shrink by 1.2 % for 2020. Unemployment has skyrocketed. Belize has borrowed US$12 million for unemployment relief from the Inter-American Development Bank.
As a Belizean worker, it is worrying that government’s reaction to the global economic crisis of 2020 has been slow and conventional. At the present rate of deterioration, thousands more will lose their jobs by the end of 2021.
The United Kingdom is seeking applicants for the head of a skunk works project for economic recovery. They stated, “We need some true wildcards, artists, people who never went to university and fought their way out of appalling hell holes…”
The deadline for application as head of the Skunkworks team is July 27, 2020, and open to UK nationals only. A Skunkworks project is a project developed by a loosely structured group of people who research and develop a project primarily for radical innovation.
This local economic downturn is unprecedented. Seeking traditional international institutions’ help via loans will only make Belize more indebted, and will in the future create the need for more drastic government spending cuts and result in more significant loss of jobs when we cannot borrow unless we have an IMF deal.
I have scrutinized Belize’s economic recovery plan so far, and it is inadequate and is postponing an economic meltdown instead of fixing the economic shortfalls. For example, we can mix our gasoline with 10 % ethanol without harming our vehicles and cut our import of fuel by 10 %.
Belize can manufacture ethanol locally. Our banking system lends money mostly for consumption or real estate, which only produces what classical economists call virtual wealth.
Germany is the world’s second largest exporter and 70 % of its loans are to small businesses for production. The government and private sector in Belize must increase loans for production, not for virtual wealth creation.
I am only trying to give helpful criticism, because Belize is my home and I do not plan to live anywhere else. Please try to rescue Belize. What is happening so far is our politicians simply buying time.
Brian Ellis Plummer