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Jun 18, 2020

John Briceño Questions PM’s Wisdom on Treasury Notes Offer

John Briceño

On Wednesday, Financial Secretary Joseph Waight confirmed to News Five that Belize applied for a loan through the IMF at the eleventh hour and is at number eighty-eight on the long list of countries waiting for COVID-19 relief funding. According to Waight, the loan is small and comes with a low interest under the rapid financing instrument of the IMF.  The application was submitted in May for a loan of thirty-eight million dollars, which is the most that Belize can borrow at this moment.  Waight says the loan comes with few conditions. Today, the Leader of the Opposition, John Briceño said that the Prime Minister was not too keen to the conditions offered.

 

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“The Prime Minister when we were in the National Oversight Committee did announce that the IMF had offered the Government of Belize eighteen point six million U.S. dollars. Then that he was waiting for the conditionalities, a letter with the conditionalities, under which conditionalities you are going to get the money. It took about three weeks when he finally came to, when he reported to the NOC that he finally got the letter and that he did not like the conditions that are going to be placed on him as Prime Minister. He felt that he cannot ‘shackle’ the hands of the next government and that is why he rejected the eight-point six million dollars U.S.  But that money, as I am told, we would only pay an interest rate of less than one percent but now the government is turning around and borrowing on the capital markets through treasury bills thirty million U.S.  He is offering to pay six point five percent to be paid within five years. So in effect, he is still shackling the hands of the next government because he is borrowing thirty million dollars that he plans to spend even before the elections is over. We need to question the wisdom in taking such action.”


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