GOB seeks to secure a loan from OPEC

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Updated: October 20, 2017

At today’s House Sitting, Prime Minister Dean Barrow also motioned that a loan from OPEC Fund for International Development of twelve million US dollars for the replacement of the Haulover Bridge be passed through all its stages today. Government intends to improve traffic congestion in Belize City and the connectivity and accessibility in the area by replacing the Halouver Bridge for a longer and wider one. The project also includes pedestrian sidewalks. The Prime Minister explained the loan plan.

Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister

“The Government of Belize has requested assistance from OFID in the sum of $12 million US dollars for partial funding of the project and whereas the OFID has approved an offer for a loan of $12 million US dollars to the Government of Belize to finance 68% of the total costs of the works and whereas the approved financing will be uesd towards the construction of the bridge and its approach roads, river protection works, installation of necessary drainage infrastructure as well as the installation of safety features and whereas the terms and conditions of the loan offer are as follows. Lender OFID, loan principal amount US$12 million. Loan term 20 years, 5 years grace period plus 15 years repayment period and the grace period is five years from the date of the loan agreement. Repayment is in 30 semiannual installments of US $400,000 commencing on July 15 2022. The purpose is to construct this 147 meter long and 20 meter wide bridge. The rate of interest is 2.5% per annum of the principal amount withdrawn and outstanding and payable semiannually on January 15 and July 15 in each year. Service charge at a rate of 1% per annum on the principal amount of the loan withdrawn and outstanding payable semi annually on January 15th and July 15th in each year. And whereas under the provisions of Section 7 of the Finance and Audit Reform Act 2005 the government of Belize is required to obtain the authorization of the national assembly by way of a resolution for such borrowing.”

Leader of the Opposition John Briceno while not objecting to the project did express his dissatisfaction that the motion was being rushed through all its stages today without them having an opportunity to go over the documents.

 

John Briceno, Opposition Leader

“We recognize the importance of the Haul Over Bridge we are not against it but what is the emergency? If the Prime Minister would wish we could have another house meeting in the next two weeks, that would give enough time for this to go to the house committee and for us to be able to ask the proper questions. We are not in any way in this case imputing improper motives but they need to respect this side of the house and they need to be able to give us an opportunity to meet with the people in the Ministry of Works and the contractors and everything to get a better understanding of what is happening. This is way too much and we object what the Prime Minister is attempting to do once again in the house.”

Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister

“Madam Speaker this is absolutely straightforward. It is as the leader of the opposition concede squarely in the public interest, the loan terms and conditions are nothing out of the ordinary they are extremely concessionary any fool can digest it in five minutes, it is given that we were in Washington and we had to make the arrangements with the OFID Director General a matter of urgency I would think that there would be no problem in supporting this.”