By Chrisbert Garcia: A loan of $12 million from the Social Security Board (SSB) has been approved and is now in the publication stage before it is completely formalized, then handed over to Santander, which will use it to further develop its mill in the Cayo District.
Chairman of the SSB, Doug Singh, explained in an interview that Santander is investing US $142 million to establish a sugar factory, as well as purchase acres of land in Cayo, with US $50 million coming from their equity investments and the other US $96 million being obtained through loans from Belize Bank, Atlantic Bank, Heritage Bank, regional banks and a bank in Washington DC.
Singh said one of Santander’s lenders dropped out and the company then approached SSB, which after thorough review, approved the US $6 million loan, amounting to a little over 6 percent of what Santander is borrowing from various national and international institutions.
He went on to say that this loan will bring better returns than bank interest rates, with 8 percent in the first two years and 7 percent afterwards, compared to 2.5 percent or 3 percent that is being given by banks. Singh said that returns like that will help to strengthen the fund that benefits Belizeans, create employment and help our country’s foreign exchange.
The publication of SSB’s $ 12 million loan to Santander will be open for the next two weeks, in which time members of the general public are able to submit objections or views on the matter.
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