A loan motion for twenty five million US dollars from the Government of China, Taiwan, was approved today in the Senate. According to the orders of the day, the Government received an offer from Taiwan as financial support. This offer comes in the form of a long term, concessionary loan of fifty million Belize dollars. The load is to provide for general budgetary support. The loan motion was debated among the Senators.
Senator Mark Lizarraga
“I remind this honorable house, that as our debt stands today, if what I read is correct, that we are close to one hundred percent of GDP in debt, that would mean what we would be adding today would be on top of the already ten thousand dollars per person that we owe in this country, every man, woman and child and if we were to solely put that on the backs of the workers of this country; the one hundred thousand or so registered workers, it would equate to about thirty five thousand dollars per person of debt. Mr. President, we know that we are approaching this fiscal cliff. We know that our government has already acknowledged that our economy is in recession. We know of the industries that are under performing, that have problems. We know all of these things and yet we seek to borrow more at this time and obviously this money that we are borrowing today is going to go into the consolidated revenue fund and it’s going to disappear because it is going to cover in effect all monies that we’ve already spent. This is for budgetary support and we know, we strongly suspect that we are going to be in deficit again this year as we have been for the last number of years.”
Senator Elena Smith
“We were also concerned though that this loan is for budgetary support and so we have already spent and we need additional to help us to assist with what was in it for I guess for the budget that will be ending in March. So we are concerned with that matter there, we are also concerned as I said with the matter of the strain that will be placed on our people and our economy and as my colleague said earlier, when we looked at the total pocket of debt that we have, it is going to be a thirty five thousand on the head of each worker and that does not include interest that will be paid. When we look at that, Mr. President, that could mean a home for a worker, a thirty five thousand dollar home. That is the amount that that person will have on his or her back, excluding interest so if we can get some sort of clarification, some additional information on these questions that we have, on these concerns that we have.”
Senator Ashley Rocke
“The loan seems to be gotten or will be gotten from a private entity and so there’s the inconsistency, there that we would like to understand. We feel that, that needs to be clarified and I also want to say that when you’re getting a loan, it’s very very important, especially when I am in my home with my wife and my children, when we’re getting a loan, we sit down and we discuss and give all the details as to what that loan will be used for.
Senator Michael Peyrifitte
“First of all, the liber as it currently stands, is about 1.6 percent which is considered to be very high, it very rarely goes beyond that and I agree with my friend, Senator Thompson who said that after all the partying and all the good times, yes, from all the partying and from all the good times, from 1998 to 2008 it has put us in the position where we still have to be making loans to buttress the financings of this country and it goes a long way in saying though Mr. President that if we are in such a bad state as everybody on the other side and other members would like for the country to believe, if we were in such a bad state then how come we are still getting good concessionary loans like these?
Senator Valerie Woods
“I do take issue with the fact that a purpose for a twenty five million US dollar loan is listed as general budgetary support because there are no details in that one liner. There are absolutely many details actually when we did the budget debate under the program budgeting format so when we get something like this we are right back to the same arguments Mr. President, we just want to know and it’s not just us by the way, it’s the people of Belize just want to know what will twenty five million US dollars be used for to support the budget?”
Senator Macario Coy
“I think I am not sure if the senator missed the purpose of it since she wants clarification of the purpose of this motion, it’s clear here Mr. President, right here, it says it is a General Budgetary Support. Man it’s clear. Budget. Support. It’s in it. General. So what specific is in it, that not making it clear there? And I’m glad that she asked some couple questions this had occurred in the past but if it occurred in the past, it occurred in the past. It used to occur in the past, it happened in the past and that’s why what my honorable colleague is saying over this side. I didn’t even hear mention political things, he is just making the statement clear, that this used to happen in the past and that’s the reason we are here today. Man. It happened in the past, at least we are not doing it in the present, for clarification.”
The loan is being made through the Mega International Commercial Bank Company Limited of the Republic of China Taiwan. The government has agreed to make thirty five consecutive almost equal semi-annual principal instalments commencing 36 months after the signing date of the agreement,.