One form of help that is coming to the Government of Belize is the loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) which we told you about earlier this week. The loan is for fifteen million US dollars. Financial Secretary Joseph Waight explained how this money will be utilized.
Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary: “The board of directors met earlier this week and approved a loan to the government of Belize which we intend then to use to refinance what we would otherwise would have paid for debt service to CDB this year. It’s a big relief we’re talking about maybe $15 million US dollars it’s a big help to us and that would help to reduce our deficit. It’s not cash in hand but it will help us to relieve us from that aspect and we really do hope that the other IFIs could take a page out of CDB’s book in this regard but we’re not there yet. It will give us a break it’s not money in hand that we can spend elsewhere it’s basically a refinancing of what we would have had to pay CDB this year.”
The CDB loan has been dubbed as an emergency loan and Belize is one of seven Caribbean countries to benefit. President of the CBD, Warren Smith remarked that the provision of support to the seven countries to respond to COVID-19 and keep critical government services and operations running is urgent to halt the economic decline and minimize social hardship while giving focused attention to the most vulnerable people. The other six countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St Vincent, and Grenadines and Suriname. In total, the CDB is issuing sixty-six point seven million US dollars under this emergency loan scheme.