Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Economy, People & Places » G.O.B. Objects to S.S.B.’s Seven-figure Loan to Pharmaceutical Company
Jul 25, 2022

G.O.B. Objects to S.S.B.’s Seven-figure Loan to Pharmaceutical Company

The Social Security Board is proposing a seven million dollar loan to a private pharmaceutical company which will be used for refinancing and inventory purposes. That public notice of investment comes hard on the heels of a similar written announcement that was issued last week when the S.S.B. made known that it was also investing twenty million dollars in the Development Finance Corporation. While that statement raised some eyebrows, officials from both organizations subsequently attested that it was not the first time that the S.S.B. was lending money to the D.F.C. This latest notice, however, is being with objection from the Ministry of Health and Wellness. On Sunday evening, the Government of Belize issued a release in which it placed on record concerns related to the proposal to lend seven million dollars to Pharmacy Express Limited. Among the company’s principals is Julius Zabaneh. That name was confirmed this afternoon by Chief Executive Officer Deborah Ruiz. But why is the plan to offer a seven-figure loan facility to a pharmaceutical company being met with an expression of opposition from government?  Earlier today, News Five spoke with Chief Executive Officer, Doctor Julio Sabido, of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, to get some answers.  Notwithstanding information that was confidentially shared with the media, Doctor Sabido was rather cautious in his response to the questions asked. In contrast, C.E.O. Ruiz was more forthcoming with information from S.S.B.’s end. This afternoon, she told us that the loan application by Pharmacy Express had been on the table since earlier this year.


Deborah Ruiz

Deborah Ruiz, C.E.O., Social Security Board

“It has been in discussions for some several months in terms of the different criteria and of course the collateral that is needed to cover the loan.  So all of that has been in discussion as part of the mandate under the investment framework, that the Investment Committee is charged to look at and follow a due diligence process.  Now in terms of what the press release is saying, this is also part of the process in the governance framework that the public has an opportunity, a window of time to weigh in.  Under the framework, we are mandated to publish that we intend to award the loan in two consecutive circulation, in both the gazette and newspapers.  So that is the process that is in play right now.  During this time, any objections to the loan, we would appreciate getting that in writing so that we are clear as to what those objections are so that can be tabled to the board for their consideration, in terms of anything we may have missed in the loan that the public may be aware of.”


Julio Sabido

Dr. Julio Sabido, C.E.O., Ministry of Health & Wellness

“A process has been triggered and we’re going to put our recommendations, our objections, our issues in writing to the Social Security Board and once that is done, S.S.B. will be at liberty to do as it wishes with that information. So right now, we are going to put our objections in writing to S.S.B. and then you can request from them that information.”


Isani Cayetano

“So my understanding, nonetheless, C.E.O., is that a principal for this particular company in question has done business with the Ministry of Health & Wellness last year when it was under a different minister and perhaps that’s where some of the concerns from MOHW, as present, come from.  Can you speak to that as it why it informs your position to raise your concern?”


Dr. Julio Sabido

“Isani, as I said earlier, the process has been triggered, we’re going to write S.S.B. and then they will be the one to disclose that information, if they so choose.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed