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An aerial view of a section of Belize city. (Photo: International Environments)

Belize receives COVID-19 support from IDB

An aerial view of a section of Belize city. (Photo: International Environments)

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) yesterday, June 22, approved a US$12-million loan to support the implementation of Belize’s COVID-19 Unemployment Relief Program.

(Photo: Belize News)

With the loan, Belize will improve its protection of the vulnerable population affected by the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, the Government will provide cash transfers to currently unemployed individuals, formerly working in the informal or formal sectors, for a 12-week period.

According to the IDB, “The crisis caused by COVID-19 has hurt local income and consumption. Based on estimates, 95 per cent of firms within the tourism sector, which accounts for 40 per cent total employment, have already been negatively impacted by the pandemic. In addition, vulnerable populations are at increased risk of suffering the effects of an economic downturn.”

(File photo)

The transfers, however, win not only benefit former employees in the tourism sector but will include individuals who are not benefactors of other cash transfer programmes.

As a result, the Unemployment Relief Program will benefit approximately 26,500 individuals and contribute to maintaining standards of living for vulnerable individuals whose income levels deteriorated due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“The crisis caused by COVID-19 has hurt local income and consumption. Based on estimates, 95 per cent of firms within the tourism sector, which accounts for 40 per cent total employment, have already been negatively impacted by the pandemic.”

— Inter-Amercan Development Bank

“IDB’s experience suggests that cash transfer and unemployment insurance programmes are effective at smoothing consumption and alleviating temporary income poverty,” the regional bank stated.