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BELMOPAN, Belize, January 22, 2009 - Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow has unveiled a BEL$200 million (US$100 million) economic stimulus plan that will be funded by regional and international institutions.
He said that BEL$60 million (US$30 million), primarily from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) will go towards tourism and solid waste management.
"Loans from the IDB and from the other sources are already approved so that is in no sense a case of wishful thinking...There is BEL$20 million (US$10 million) from the CDB (Caribbean Development Bank) for the DFC (Development Finance Corporation)," Mr Barrow said at a press conference yesterday.
"I am trying to see how we can capitalize the new revised DFC to the tune of more than BEL$20 million (US$10 million) that the CDB is lending us. It might have to be a little domestic borrowing; we'd have to persuade Social Security to invest in the DFC."
Mr Barrow added that BEL$20 million (US$10 million) would be used for the Belama drainage project, the expansion of the Northern Highway into a four-lane road and infrastructure rehabilitation on the Western Highway.
The Belize Prime Minister said his government has also approached the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Petroleum Fund, the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for additional money.
"Under the continuing EU assistance, there is BEL$20 million (US$10 million) in grant funding for road infrastructure particularly in the north. We have applied for BEL$20 million (US$10 million) from the CARICOM Petroleum Fund for, again, flood relief purposes and the IMF...said we could get US$10 million, without conditionalities, for balance of payment support, again, as a consequence of the flood events," he said.
At least another BEL$10 million (US$5 million) will come from the Commonwealth Debt Initiative and the Social Investment Fund and the Belize National Teacher's Union.
"That, then, is our version of the stimulus package that of course so very many countries in this world are resorting to," the Belize leader told reporters. "This will increase employment, pump money into the economy and create the rising tide designed to float all boats even in a time of recession."
Meantime, Prime Minister Barrow has revealed that administration is in negotiations with Taiwan for a concessionary loan to tackle the 0.7 per cent deficit for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.