By Benjamin Flowers
The political third party, Vision Inspired by the People, this week, joined the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry in saying that the Government of Belize needs to take warnings from international financial institutions seriously.
VIP President, Hubert Enriquez, said on Tuesday, that given government’s current spending regime, the party was not surprised that five institutions issued warnings within the past four months that Belize will end up in a debt crisis if current fiscal practices continue.
“It is unfortunate yet consistent with government’s behavior to ignore the dire warnings of the international financial institutions and rating agencies”, Enriquez said.
“The warnings are hardly surprising, given government’s penchant for impulsive spending on projects of little or no economic value”, he continued.
He added that his party feels that GOB’s borrowing and spending is unsustainable, and that it lacks a coherent debt management plan. He also said that government does not meaningfully engage the private sector and other social partners when considering development strategies.
BCCI President Arturo Vasquez said earlier this month that Prime Minister Dean Barrow was not considering the international implications of the reports, when he flatly dismissed the warnings issued by the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, BMI, and Moody’s.
“I want to think that since these Moody’s reports are internationally read and reviewed, it can have a significant effect on your foreign direct investments”, Vasquez said.
The organizations warned that continued borrowing, low productivity, an increasing wage bill, and the unknown amount that will be needed to pay compensation for the nationalization of two utility companies, could leave Belize in a dire financial situation.
Barrow responded by saying that while he respects the agencies, his government stands by its fiscal policies.