Tertiary Level Students and MSME’s To Benefit from Loans through DFC
On Monday the Government sought approval for a six million US dollar financing from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to support tertiary education in Belize. The loan agreement is geared at facilitating Belizeans with borrowed funding to pursue a tertiary-level education to contribute to the country’s economic development. Prime Minister John Briceño, explains that DFC has always been a steadfast student loan institution, and this agreement will further enhance that program.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “This administration firmly believes that education including higher level education is critical to the economic development of Belize. The DFC has been one few financial institutions in this country that has consistently granted education loans to Belizeans over the many years. This proposed loan from the CDB is intended to enhance this offering more robustly in this regard with a view to keeping the cost of funding low this US $6 million dollar loan will include concessional special fund resources so that even in a high interest rate environment for CDB on a blended basis the interest cost to DFC would be roughly 3.5% per annum and repayment will be over a period of seventeen years per annum following a five year grace period. So Madam Speaker I therefore ask and I look forward to the unanimous support of all members of this honorable house for the provision of the requisite sovereign guarantees by the Government of Belize and due entry into these loan facilities by the DFC.”
Leader of the Opposition, Moses “Shyne” Barrow, explained that while he supports the move to further support Belizeans who want to further their education, this loan agreement disqualifies a large number of persons who come from economically challenged backgrounds.
Moses Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “I have no difficulty in supporting this attempt. What I would like to clarify I would like a commitment from is what I had recommended in this Honorable House is changing the terms that the DFC offers in particular to students from financially challenged backgrounds. So you can have this $12 million Belize $6 million US available but there are still hurdles to those from impoverished financially challenged households. So I don’t know what the Prime Minister or the Minister of Education who has agreed that my suggestion is not unreasonable I don’t know what they will do to address this because you can have that $7 million there but equal access is not guaranteed. Yes there are some people who come from maybe middle class, upper class homes and they can go to the bank and get the loan but what about someone on the south side or someone in the rural areas who don’t have anyone to cosign, who don’t have any collateral and on paper cannot demonstrate the ability to repay ? So I would very much appreciate some type of commitment into looking at having the DFC make exceptions or some type of accommodations for those who can qualify as financially challenged persons.”