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Government at odds with opposition over SSB purchase of BEL shares

Posted: Friday, march 17, 2017. 11:08 a.m. CST.

By BBN Staff:  The People’s United Party (PUP) have condemned the Government of Belize’s purchase of shares in Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) with funds from the social Security Board.

On Monday Prime Minister Dean Barrow, during his presentation of the national budget, announced that the SSB would purchase some 3 million shares in BEL at $5 each.

PUP leader John Briceño condemned the purchase, saying that the government was suing SSB funds to compensate for the weaknesses in the budget.

“Pretty much the government is using Social Security as their piggy bank, transferring these shares so that they can try to prop up their budget, because it’s a budget that’s in serious trouble,” Briceño said.

Barrow maintained that the purchase is a lucrative investment for the SSB, and that the government would be amiss not to capitalize on it. Barrow said that the SSB has realized a significant return on investments on shares it already owns in BEL, which value more that it could get on any fixed deposit at commercial banks.

‘This is an investment in which SSB can’t miss. You can’t get anything by leaving the money in the bank. This is a sure fire investment that will help SSB,” Barrow said.
GOB is also considering purchasing $55 million worth of shares in Belize Telemedia Limited through the SSB.

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