Business / General / Weekend News

Prime Minister presents budget speech

By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter

Prime Minister Dean Barrow presented a summary of the 2015-2016 budget to the national assembly on Friday.

Barrow in his budget speech, explained that the country’s deficit will amount to 2.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), a value of some $88 million. He added that the figure will be increased to $174 million, due to $86 million for loan amortization.

“Total Expenditure is budgeted at $1.1 billion while total revenue and grants are estimated at $980 million, Barrow said.

He added that the funds needed to cover the deficit will be sourced from mulitlateral and bilateral arrangements, grant from the Republic of China(Taiwan) and from the Petro Caribe arrangement. Some $91 million is marked in the budget for interest payments on the country’s national debt.

The budget also indicated that the Central Bank of Belize conservatively expects GDP growth to decelerate to between 2.0 percent and 2.5 percent, down from 3.6 percent in the 2013-2014 budget.

Barrow underscored that the budget is the eighth under his administration and in that time there has not been any commercial borrowing or new taxes levied on the Belizean people.

While members the opposition briefly commented on their disapproval of the budget, the official budget debate is set for March 26 and 27.

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