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Oct 9, 2015

Public/Private Sector Attends Business Forum

As we told you on Thursday, the Prime Minister hosted an economic forum which charts a course for public/private collaboration on the development of the country. It’s an initiative which has been hailed as a success, and one of the highlights has been the formation of an economic development council.  Mike Rudon was at the forum and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The Prime Minister’s business forum has pointed to the successful collaboration of the private and public sectors in Belize. On Thursday, professionals from both quarters gathered to pay tribute to that partnership.

 

Kay Menzies

Kay Menzies, Representative, Private Sector

“We never got into this thinking that we were going to be miracle workers—it would have been nice—but thinking that we would be miracle workers and get government moving at the speed we would wish within three years, would have been a very, very pleasant shock. As it is, I think we have made quite a degree of headway. There are discussions that have begun that would not have begun without the EDC intervention, particularly tax reform, transportation master plan which is a critical issue for Belize; access to finance has been an issue more for the forefront of discussion. Results from them, they are on the way—I’d want to think—but I think that we should be optimistic by the fact that they’ve simply begun to be discussed.”

 

According to the Prime Minister, while the partnership has reaped dividends, there is still a long way to go.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I know that whoever is prime minister after November fourth will be obliged and no doubt happy to continue this EDC enterprise. I also feel that, if nothing else, it has served to immeasurably broaden the understanding between the public and the private sectors. We may not, I repeat, may have achieved as much as we’d have liked to operationally, but there is no doubt that there is far greater understand and a level of mutual respect now between the public and the private sector that was always a consummation devoutly to be wished.”

 

Mike Singh

Mike Singh, Representative, Public Sector

“Our report card normally comes through the World Bank doing business report and I expect that over the next…but the new one is coming out in January and early reports seem that we will be making some significant progress because of some of the submissions that we have given to the World Bank that have come from the discussions from the EDC. Many reforms in the Lands Department…we spoke about those at great length to improve the time for getting permits for instance. Many of the things that were misconceptions have been cleared up. So I think the report card is coming. It is not something that we can put out ourselves. We can only react by what the private sector says, which is what goes to the World Bank report.”

 

Mike Rudon for News Five.

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