REFORMS

What is a reform?

In the context of Economic Development, a reform is an intervention taken to improve and enhance service delivery by the Government of Belize that will result in an improved business climate and economic development.

Why are reforms important?

  1. To identify and assess opportunities to improve economic outcomes;
  2. To improve institutional capacity in the GOB
  3. To encourage growth and sustainability

Instruments of reform:

  • Regulatory instruments (policy and legislation)
  • Modernizing processes and procedures
  • ICT platforms

 

Reforms

Reform(s)/Developments Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) Capacity Building and Institutional Strengthening
Description of Reform/Developments Agricultural Services Program
Lead Ministry Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development.
Status of Implementation Completed
Impact –               Improved services to the private sector through modernized processes and procedures.

–               Improved testing, expansion of testing capability and monitoring capacity. (Five laboratories upgraded, two new quarantine stations opened, additional equipment sourced and staff hired)

–               Specialized training for staff such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plans and in Good Agricultural Practices improving industries’ capacity for compliance with best practices in food safety and specific laboratory techniques, inclusive of preparations for ISO 17025 accreditation.

–               All Quarantine stations at the official points of entry were equipped with Distance Diagnostic through Digital Imaging (DDDI) equipment for the prompt identification of pests intercepted on consignments.

 

 

 

 

Date of Entry into Force 2011-2015
Other Success Stories Belize has OIE recognition as a country free of Foot and Mouth Disease without vaccination and Medfly Free Status Recognition from the USA.  Furthermore Belize, with the establishment of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, is recognized as a leader in the region for taking an integrated approach to agricultural health and food safety.

 

 

Name of Reform(s)/Developments National Dialogue for Quality Infrastructure (QI) in the Agriculture Sector
Description of Reform The develop an action plan that would serve to address the immediate to medium terms needs of the agriculture sector as it relates to Quality Infrastructure which essentially is directly related to standardization metrology and compliance.
Lead Ministry Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development.
Status of Implementation In progress
Impact This will position the Bureau to develop services to match the needs for the agriculture sector in the following areas:

a)           Increase the production of good quality local meats and eggs,

b)          Increase crop production and enhance the quality of local fruits and vegetables,

c)           Increase the production of good quality marine products for sustainable fishery, and

d)          Increase the production of good quality agro-processed products.

Reform Building Act
Description of Reform Create a robust Building Legislation that will clearly guide the role and responsibilities of the Central Building Authority and the Local Building Authorities. See more here.
Lead Ministry Ministry of Housing and Urban Development
Status of Implementation In progress
Impact of Reform Harmonize and streamline the process for construction permits in every municipality in Belize.
Reform Customer Service / Quality Assurance Policy
Description of Reform Establishing a policy and required roadmap and monitoring system to improve the quality of services offered by the Public Service.
Lead Ministry Ministry of Finance, Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities
Status of Implementation In Progress
Impact of Reform Due to the ongoing collaboration, consultation and sensitization, Public Service Agencies are more aware of the customer-centered approach to service.

This will improve customer’s satisfaction, as well as reduce cost to Government.

Facilitate a better environment for business opportunities and sustained economic growth.

 

Reform Job Classification and Compensation Modernization
Description of Reform A properly designed job classification and compensation framework for the Belize public service will serve to standardise and guide the administration of its human resources, as well as enforce the ‘equal pay for equal work’ principle.
Lead Ministry Ministry of Finance, Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities
Status of Implementation In Progress
Impact of Reform ·             Improved public service delivery

·             Reduced public sector wage bill

·             Improved value-for-money

 

Reform Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS)
Description of Reform Digitization of the human resource data of the Belize Public Service. This will assist in the standardization of the Human Resources Management that supports human resource development.
Lead Ministry Ministry of Finance, Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities
Status of Implementation In progress
Impact of Reform Decision-making is enhanced through easier access to HR data; thereby; fostering improvements in the management of the human capital of the Belize Public Service.

 

Reform Online Permits Application and Licenses (OPAL)
Description of Reform The Online Permits Application and Licenses (OPAL) system is a web-based application for the purpose of issuing permits on behalf of the Department of the Environment.  These permits are used for the import or export of scrap metal, used tires, lead acid batteries, OSD/halogenated gases, refrigeration/air conditioning equipment and petroleum products.
Lead Ministry Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development.
Status of Implementation Completed
Impact of Reform Allows for importers and exporters from the general public to apply for commodities regulated by the Department of the Environment via an online system accessible via the Internet anywhere at any time.  OPAL has made it much easier and cheaper for the public to apply for their DOE regulated licenses.

 

Reform Office of the Supervisor of Insurance Online Application
Description of Reform Online System that facilitates the entering and reconciliation of financial information submitted by the Insurance Companies regulated by the Office of the Supervisor of Insurance.
Lead Ministry Ministry of Finance, Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities
Status of Implementation Completed
Impact of Reform The implementation of this system facilitates the automated reconciliation of Insurance Companies’ financial data.  Presently the Office of the Supervisor of Insurance had the herculean task of reconciling all Insurance Company data manually.

The Office of the Supervisor of Insurance can now focus its efforts on analysis and their regulatory duties, rather than expending resources on outdated manual processes.

 

Reform VOIP and Email Migration
Description of Reform VOIP – Consolidation of its voice communications into one fully integrated Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) system providing “free” and seamless communications across all ministries/agencies.

Email – The Government will also implement and enforce centralized email services. This will be achieved by hosting all government mailboxes on a shared system located within the data centre and ensuring that there is compliance by all Ministries and Departments.

Lead Ministry Ministry of Finance, Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities (CITO)
Status of Implementation Completed
Impact of Reform Both the VOIP and Email solutions on CITOs integrated network will give effect, at a technical level, to a seamless and connected government.  This will reduce costs and improve the services provided by the Government thereby achieving greater efficiency to the general public.
Date of Entry into Force January 2015

 

Reform E-Government Policy, Strategy, and Action Plan
Description of Reform The E-Government policy is designed to promote integration and information sharing amongst Government Entities.

A problem within the Government of Belize has always been sharing and ownership of information.  Through this E-Government Policy, CITO will have the mandate to implement a Government Wide Area Network for the public sector using common and shared platforms that enable delivery of robust, seamless, user-friendly, end-to-end ICT services internally and to external clients.

Lead Ministry Office of the Prime Minister, CITO
Status of Implementation In  progress
Impact of Reform The public will benefit greatly from the implementation of this policy.  They will now have Government services available at their fingertips.  The consolidation and sharing of Government Information also means that the public will enjoy more effective and efficient services provided by the Public Sector.

 

Reform Development of a Government Data Center
Description of Reform Data Centre to house computer systems and associated components for all Ministries, Agencies and Departments. The data centre will be fully redundant, secure and facilitate the sharing of core e-government applications, providing storage and backup facilities. It will also serve as a network operations centre (NOC) for the GovNet and will be equipped to provide network monitoring and first level technical support services for all of Government.
Lead Ministry Office of the Prime Minister, CITO
Status of Implementation This has been completed and is currently where the Central Information Technology Office operates.
Impact of Reform Both the network consolidation and data centre projects will give effect, at a technical level, to a seamless and connected government.  They will reduce costs and improve the security of the network.  The Government can achieve greater efficiency in use of resources without sacrificing core functionality at the ministry level.

The consolidation of the ministries systems under a data centre will reduce the government’s energy costs and its overall IT expenditure. Additionally the use of renewable energy will further reduce Government’s energy bill.

 

The CITO also has a training center that is available to the Private and Public Sector for use.  Many trainings and events that serve the general public have been held at this facility.

 

The CITO’s main objectives are Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability of Government Information.  Government and Public information that is confidential will remain confidential and will not be leaked out to the public or any other entity.  Information that comes through the data center is not manipulated nor modified in any way; its integrity is maintained.  Government services hosted in this data center are always available to the public and the public officers who use the systems.

 

Reform BELAPS
Description of Reform The Belize Electronic Licenses and Permits System is designed to facilitate business and trade.  BELAPS will be an automated system that enables the sharing of information amongst the agencies related to Import and Export of Supplies Control Unit related commodities.  This system will be available to the public for use.
Lead Ministry Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development.
Status of Implementation The Fisheries and Forestry Modules have been completed and will be available by November 2015.  In addition to this, there is currently a validation process, via web service, in place for licenses issued between SCU and Customs that has been completed.

The second phase of the BELAPS project commences in September 2015.  This project is slated to be completed in 2016.

Impact of Reform BELAPS will enable the public to apply for Import and Export licenses related to Supplies Control Unit online; reducing the need for the public to make multiple visits to various offices to submit their license applications or follow up on them.

The agencies involved will also benefit through the automation of their existing manual processes.  In addition to this, they will benefit from automated reconciliation of their commodities.

 

Reform ICT to manage Human Resources
Description of Reform An update of the Human Resource Module in SmartStream to incorporate accurate Public Officer information.
Lead Ministry Ministry of Finance, Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities
Status of Implementation Completed
Impact of Reform The use of the Human Resource module is beneficial to the Government of Belize and the Public it serves on a whole.  It allows for transparent, effective, and efficient records management of Human Resources.

 

Reform Business Registry
Description of Reform To create an online portal for business application and registration.
Lead Ministry Ministry of the Attorney General
Status of Implementation In progress
Impact of Reform Reduce the time to register a business in Belize. Increase business establishments and data management.

 

Reform Improving the Land Administration System of the Lands and Surveys Department
Description of Reform The Lands and Surveys Department has prime responsibility for all aspects of land tenure in Belize and performs its functions via the administration and enforcement of the several pieces of legislation and the regulations. The Department oversees the registration of land rights, land valuation for the purpose of determining rent and tax rates, the allocation of public lands by lease, or sale for private ownership, mapping, and the management of land information. The Department is organized into six sections: National Estate (Offices in each district), Valuation, Surveys and Mapping, Physical Planning, Land Information Center, Land Titles and Land Registry. The National Estate Section administers all matters related to national lands and thus is the primary focus of this short- term reform plan.

 

The immediate and/or short- and medium-term strategies and actions described below are aimed at restoring confidence in the land administration system by improving service delivery through effective and efficient management of the National Estate Section.

a.            Foster greater collaboration and coordination between the six (6) sections of the Department.

Lead Ministry Ministry of Natural Resources and Immigration
Status of Implementation In progress
Impact of Reform ·             Improve the accountability, transparency and robustness of the Land Administration System,

·             Strengthen personnel capacity for improved customer service delivery,

·             c.               Improve the image of the Department through targeted public relations and communications strategies,

 

Reform Real Estate
Description of Reform To formalized and regulate the real estate sector by developing a real estate bill.
Lead Ministry Ministry of Natural Resources and Immigration
Status of Implementation In Progress
Impact of Reform Stimulate the real estate sector through legal guidance and structure.

 

Reform  Energy Security and Climate Change Resiliency
Description of Reform The areas under reforms:

·             New  Belize-Mexico Agreement on Energy Supply

·             Developed National Sustainable Energy Strategy &  Action Plan (NSES)

·             National Transportation Master Plan

·             Request for Proposal (RFP) process for bids submission for Electrical Power Generation -60MW of Firm Capacity, and 15MW of Wind and/or Solar

·             Signed Memorandum of Understanding to join the Ten Island Challenge, a partnership initiative between Carbon War Room (CWR) and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), with support from the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI).

·             Became a party to the Japan – Caribbean Climate Change partnership, to help mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

Lead Ministry Ministry of Finance, Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities
Status of Implementation In progress
Impact of Reform ·             Energy Security and resiliency in the long term for Belize. Create growth opportunities for other sectors.

 

 

Reform Affordable Financing
Description of Reform The National Bank of Belize offers:

Personal Loans:

·             Provide first time home owners with 100% financing at an interest rate of 5.5%; offer assistance to purchase land, help construct the house, and pay all fees (legal, government registration fees) – interest rate is 5.5%

·             Offer refinancing at 6.5-7.5%, offer loans for home improvement at 6.7-7.5%, offer vehicle loans at 8% for a new vehicle and 9% interest rate for used vehicles; both are 100% financed.

Business Loans

·             Offer small businesses loans up to BZ $150,000. Business loans- only small business loans are being offered. Under $100k with a few under $150k.  Also offers handholding assistance to small mom and pops business.

Lead Ministry Ministry of Finance, Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities
Status of Implementation Completed. Belmopan Branch opened, April 2013 and Belize City branch opened 2013.
Reform ISO Certification
Description of Reform The Central Information Technology Office applied for ISO/IEC 27001 Certification in Information Security Management Systems.
Lead Ministry Office of the Prime Minister, CITO
Status of Implementation Completed.  The Central Information Technology Office was audited in April of 2015 and is now certified as meeting requirements of IOS/IEC 27001.  The official Certificate Handing over will be held on August 24, 2015 at CITO.
Impact of Reform The achievement of an Internationally Recognized Certification ensures that the CITO Data Center meets International Standards in Information Security.  The general populace and the Government entities the CITO serve will have the confidence of knowing their Information is secured according to International Standards.

 

Reform(s)/Developments Pursuing ISO 9001 (Quality Management System) Certification

ISO (International Organization for Standardization)

Description of Reform/Developments The Bureau is currently implementing and pursuing ISO 9001:2008 (Quality Management System) certification for all its processes and services. The Bureau will solidify credibility and reliability among its stakeholders as the lead entity in the promotion and implementation of Quality Infrastructure (QI) services.
Lead Ministry Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce
Status of Implementation Ongoing
Impact The Bureau to provide internationally recognized services to facilitate its clients in meeting their quality objectives relating to goods and services for domestic production and export markets.
Date of Entry into Force October 2015

 

Reforms Compliance enhancement for goods and services

 

Description of Reform/Developments With the assistance of the CDB The Belize Bureau of Standards will embark on a project to develop a compliance program for goods and services; institutionalization of a financial sustainability business plan and a diagnostic on the potential of becoming a statutory body
Lead Ministry Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce
Status of Implementation Ongoing
Impact This ensure that the Bureau commits to its mission in providing the highest professional services to all its stakeholders with efficiency and expediency
Reforms Taxation

 

Description The objective of the reform is to increase economic activity, by streamlining and simplifying the tax system. An integrated ICT system is a key element of this reform.

 

Lead Ministry Ministry of Finance, Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities
Status of Implementation In Progress
Impact ·             Improve Transparency

·             Improve efficiency and tax collection gaps

·             Reduce processing time

·             Create interconnection ( tax system)

 

Reform Trade License
Description of Reform  The objective of the reform is to create a transparent and equitable trade license fee using a simple formula; expand trade license fee to municipalities.
Lead Ministry Ministry of Labor, Local Government & Rural Development
Status of Implementation In progress
Impact of Reform ·             Uniform and predictable Trade license system

·             Proper zoning

·             Improve efficiency in doing business

·             Increase business establishments

 

Reforms  

Fiscal Incentive Act

Description of Reform/ The current Fiscal Incentive act is being amended to be in compliant with the WTO regulations.
Lead Ministry Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce
Status of Implementation In Progress
Impact Stimulate production, investment and trade. WTO compliant.

 

Reforms  

Export Processing Zone Act

Description of Reform/ The current Export Processing Zone Act is being amended to be in compliant with the WTO regulations and to better suit to current business climate of Belize.
Lead Ministry Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce
Status of Implementation In Progress
Impact Stimulate investment (FDI and Local) development and employment opportunities.

EDC'S REFORM PROCESS FLOW CHART

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