As part of the overall goal to engender an environment that is conducive for private sector growth, the Economic Development Council (EDC), in close collaboration with several other government agencies, is poised to embark on the development of a national transportation master plan, EDC’s Co-Chair Amparo Masson explained.
According to Masson, the Comprehensive National Transportation Master Plan (CNTMP), once completed, will assist in the further development of a “Belizean transport sector that contributes to sustainable economic and social development of the country.”
Among the CNTMP’s top goals is the development of a system that promotes economic growth by reducing operational costs in Belize’s leading sectors such as tourism and agriculture. “The cost-reducing function of improved transportation infrastructure is indispensible in terms of facilitating domestic and international trade,” Masson underscored.
Additionally, the plan shall also provide a framework that can inform measures to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, as well as ensure the institutional, environmental, and financial sustainability of transport services within the country.
“The Master Plan looks beyond the road networks and transportation itself. It cuts across many issues. It looks at the movement of people, the movement of labor, the movement of services, it will provide access to markets, access to materials, and movement of settlements,” she explained. “This is all by land, air, and sea.”
The EDC’s Secretariat, the Department of the Public and Private Sector Dialogue (PPD), and the Office of the Prime Minister shall work closely with other government ministries, including the Ministry of Works; The Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture; and the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, to develop the CNTMP.
In terms of oversight, Masson shared that “a Project Steering Committee (PSC) will be developed to oversee the strategic direction of the project.”
Three Technical Work Groups and a Project Executing Unit will also be formed to carry out the project. Masson pointed out that each technical work group will be responsible for specific aspects of the CNTMP’s aforementioned objectives. “One working group shall focus on Infrastructure; a second is responsible for ports, airports, and overall transportation; and the third is expected to focus on climate-change and the relevant environmental factors.”