Yesterday saw the launch of the National Investment Policy and Strategy (NIPS). This plan has been in the works for about three years, as it was approved by Cabinet back in 2016. The process to develop this strategy starts with Beltraide, since proposals must be assessed by them before gaining further approval. According to Minister of Trade, Investment and Commerce, Tracy Taeger-Panton, Belize has been working with a few international agencies to roll out this strategy.
Tracey Taegar Panton, Minister of Trade, Investment and Commerce: “I think that Belize is very forward thinking in fact to develop a national investment policy and strategy for the country. So we’ve always had a strategic plan in terms of development of investments both foreign and domestic but this policy really hopes to ensure that we have a more cohesive approach both by the Ministries and agencies that are involved in the investment process but also by investors themselves. While government spearheads investment promotion and investment facilitation this policy will help to ensure that there is a more cohesive approach by all involved in the process. Beltraide is the first stop in the process. Beltraide evaluates the proposals, does the assessments in terms of the impact these proposals can have on the country’s economy that kind of thing but then there is also discussions that have to happen with the Ministry of Natural Resources or other entities within the government to ensure permits from the Department of Environment, that kind of thing. So our vision is really to have a single window in terms of how we deal with investment facilitation. The approach now can be cumbersome because you have to visit several different agencies or ministries before that proposal advances to final approval and so we’re hoping that we can become that coordinating mechanism if you will so that the ease of doing business improves and that we can get investments on the ground faster than we are able to do them right now. Beltraide deals with investments of all sizes and there is a different approach for small and medium enterprises so those investment opportunities are handled through our small business development center and they help to guide that process. Any investment over $500,000 then we have a more formal process and greater due diligence that is required so that we can ensure that these are bonafide investors.”
The project is being funded by the Caribbean Development Fund.