By Benjamin Flowers
The political third parties, People’s National Party (PNP) and Vision Inspired by the People (VIP), are binded by their perception that the 2015 national budget reveals a lack of planning on the part of the Government of Belize.
PNP leader Will Maheia said this week that while GOB’s massive spending on infrastructure can be a boon to the economy, no feasibility study has been done to show how much returns the government will make on the investment, or in what time frame those returns would be made.
“For example the $50 million allocation for the rehabilitation of the Hummingbird Highway, no feasibility study was done to see how much can be generated from this road work,” Maheia said, “or if it would have been more profitable to rehabilitate the Coastal Road instead.
He added that the lack of feasibility studies for government spending also caused many essential areas to be overlooked, such as allocating more funding to the University of Belize.
Leader of the PNP Hubert Enriquez said, in like fashion, that without proper study it would be difficult to estimate the effectiveness of GOB’s spending on infrastructure.
“It can only be sustainable if the resulting improvements generate greater revenue inflows into central government’s account,for instance greater tourism arrivals on account of better infrastructure, “ Enriquez said, “it will therefore take a while for this outcome to be properly assessed.”
He added that the budget doe shave merits in the short term but falls short in dressing long term problems the country is facing.
Both parties have expressed that GOB should exercise more caution when relying on Petrocaribe funding, due to the volatility of Venezuela’s current economic condition. They have also both agreed that economic diversification is an area that needed more emphasis in the budget.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow presented the 2015 budget at the national assembly last Friday. He highlighted in his oral presentation that he would return by mid-year with a supplementary, to alot more budgetary allocations to municipalities down south which supported the United Democratic Party in the March 4 municipal elections.