Senate discussions loan motions valued at 66 million dollars

Senate discussions loan motions valued at 66 million dollars

Senators today met in the National Assembly Building in Belmopan to consider several motions. Three of them were loan motions, valued at 66 million dollars combined. One is 16 million dollars from the Inter-American Development Bank for a trade and investment facilitation program. Senator Michael Peyrefitte for UDP explained that these loans go against the government’s promise to the people to reduce borrowing. 

Michael Peyrefitte, Senator: “We better put to the Belizean people what it is we’re doing with their money especially money that we’re borrowing and we have to pay back for the next twenty five years. Because Madam President when merchants and shops are crossing out prices of goods in a magic marker and putting a bigger price on top for chips, on basic food items and then we come here now and say “Allow us to borrow $16 million dollars for activities that will “1, improve investment facilitation through simplification, standardization and automation of key investment procedures through the implementation of the single investment window.”. ” What is that ? Madam President what is that ? 2. Improve the investment promotion and export development tools and small and medium enterprise internationalization through the strengthening of the trade and investment institutional apparatus.” What is that ? What is that ? Hopefully the business Senator can enlighten us as to what that is because when you’re borrowing $16 million dollars you can’t come to th National Assembly with that type of language and not say what is it for ?  Us basic Belizeans want to know okay when you will borrow $16 million dollars in my name and we have to pay it back in twenty five years some apparatus and some institutionalization – what are you doing ?”

However, in supporting the loan motion, Senator Kevin Herrera for the business community explained that these changes were necessary to create a better investment climate and make business a little easier to do in Belize.

Kevin Herrera, Senator: “From the private sector standpoint Madam President time is one of the most valuable commodities that we have. You know I come from a long background of working in the business community and when I see the development and implementation of an investment window this is something that we’ve been clamoring and asking for for decades, at least twenty years. And why an investment window Madam President ? When we’re looking at bringing in investors in it’s extremely frustrating and sometimes discouraging when they have to be knocking from one ministry one office to the other trying to figure out the process to go about these investments to get the necessary permits, to get the necessary authorizations that they need. And so the investment window that we have been asking for for all these decades was an effort to bring all of this together so that people don’t have to be wandering around wondering what to do trying to figure it out especially persons who are coming in to invest in the country but even locals. Locals have stumbled on these processes a lot for a long time and so we wanted to bring all of this into a centralized area where all the needs can be addressed in that particular area.”

Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment, Senator Christopher Coye also reiterated that this funding will help Belize improve its standing internationally to attract foreign investment and for Belize to be seen as a viable investment option.

Christopher Coye, Minister of State, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development: “BELTRAIDE has limited tools and resources when compared to its regional counterparts. Belize ranks 131st in the world in country brand for trade location and economic and promotion information about Belize as an investment location is outdated on official portals. Clearly something needed to be done. This is what this project loan, this investment project loan seeks to do. It has three components, one is to facilitate investments in Belize through the implementation of a single digital investment window. This component will contribute to simplifying and automating key investment procedures through the implementation of the single investment window and will finance business process, re-engineering and normative layer including a business process model and notation mapping, simplification proposals and drafting of decrees and or laws, development of an operational layer including a proposal of an operational framework and governance of this single investment window, capacity building and shadowing in execution change management strategy and dissemination, technological development and implementation of key FTI process on the single investment window integrating different platforms and ensuring sustainability considering agile methodologies whenever possible, technological architecture, hardware and software, capacity building for maintenance sustainability of the system and including gender desegregated data request to provide data intelligence.” 

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