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Cabinet Meets to Discuss Impact of Inflation

Mar 30, 2023

Cabinet Meets to Discuss Impact of Inflation

On Wednesday, the Statistical Institute of Belize released quarterly figures for the period ending March thirty-first, one day after the Briceño administration met to discuss the impact of global inflation on the country.  Steep increases in the cost of goods and services are being felt at all levels of Belizean society and, following a cabinet discussion on Tuesday, it has been agreed that meetings would be held with wholesalers, as well as retailers, to ensure that the importance of the situation is understood by all.  This is with a view to regulate the cost of goods and services, to establish the practice of store inspections and monitoring as suggested by the unions, and to revise the existing list of basic commodities so as to expand the number of items that are price-controlled.

Melvin Perez

Melvin Perez, Statistician II, S.I.B.

“The cumulative inflation rate for the first two months of the year 2023 when compared to the same period of the year 2022, stood at 6.5%.  This means that overall, the average cost of regular purchased goods and services increased by 6.5% for the period.  Now before we look at the major categories affecting the cumulative inflation rate of 6.5%, let’s first look at the national consumer price index which summarizes all categories of goods and services, with our main emphasis being the first two months of the year 2023.  We can see how prices had an overall increase from January to February.  This increase was mainly contributed to higher restaurant service and food prices.  Now looking at the same period for the year 2022, we can also see the same trend of the year 2023 where prices increased from January to February.  But when we compare both periods, the prices in the year 2022 were not high enough, so that’s why when we compare both periods, an increase of 6.5% is reported. While prices rose across all types of food items, the increase in this category was mainly to higher prices for cereal products, meats, cooking oils, dairy products and fresh fruits and vegetables.  Looking at the table, we can see that majority of the items had an increase by more than ten percent, specifically flour, eggs, vegetable oil, watermelon, tomatoes, onions, Irish potatoes, sweet peppers, soy sauce and coconut milk.”

In a previous Cabinet meeting held earlier this year, Minister of Agriculture Jose Abelardo Mai was tasked with heading a working group to look at the issue of price gouging that exacerbates the effects of inflation on local consumers.