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More Infrastructural Upgrades for 2016 Print E-mail
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Written by By Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 10 March 2016 00:00

The first General Revenue Appropriation Bill of Belize’s only three term Prime Minister was entitled “Stability in a Time of Change”. The budget is more conservative than those of recent years – not because Government cannot afford bold ventures but because there is too much uncertainty ahead. Questions are left to be answered such as how will the sugar industry fair in the changing market; how will the citrus and aquaculture industry rebound from disease; how will the financial sector be affected in the long term by derisking exercises; what does the future hold for the PetroCaribe Initiative and what will be the payment ordered by the court for acquisition of Belize Telemedia Limited, among others. Despite these uncertainties, Government’s infrastructure program continues with $191.9 million budgeted for Capital Expenditure for 2015-2016.    

Government is proposing to allocate $191.9 million for infrastructure projects in the upcoming fiscal year. According to Prime Minister Barrow, $93.4 million will be locally funded Capital II expenditure and $95.9 million in externally funded Capital III expenditure. “The bulk of our capital program will be allocated toward the upgrading of highways, roads, streets and drains across the country to improve transportation and to make the road network more resilient to extreme climatic changes.”

A new bridge will be built in Toledo at the end of the Southern Highway near the Belize/Guatemala border. The George Price Highway will be upgraded from Belmopan to San Ignacio Town with a new two-lane bridge at Roaring Creek.  The Hummingbird Highway will be upgraded with several new two-lane bridges in the Stann Creek Valley. In the Belize District, the South-side Poverty Alleviation Project Phase III will be rolled out with more housing for the poor and the Philip Goldson Highway will be upgraded from the Haulover Bridge to Ladyville. In the North, improvement of sugar roads and upgrading of village roads will continue under the European Union program.

Even as Government tightens its belt in the face of an uncertain future, Prime Minister Barrow continues to spend on job creating infrastructure projects. Not mentioned here are the numerous projects already underway across the country such as the Macal River Bridge in Cayo and sporting facilities being constructed under the Belize Infastructure Limited.