Posted: Thursday, June 4, 2020. 4:31 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow today announced a first-ever U.S. dollar-denominated Treasury Note to be launched tomorrow, Friday.
In a video statement, the Prime Minister said the US $30 million note’s proceeds are “purposed to augment the stock of official Central Bank reserves while the maturity is tailor-made to span the crisis. Hence the affordable principal payoff dates, positioned well beyond what we believe to be the temporary economic slump caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.” The note lasts for five years, well beyond the current administration’s time in office and into the next, and the coupon is 6.5 percent.
The Central Bank, backed by the Government, will payout interest semi-annually and principal redemption will be settled in three equal tranches at the close of Years 3, 4 and 5.
Barrow said purchasers will be eligible for domestic U.S. dollar accounts to facilitate the remittance of interest and principal payments and the bankers will collaborate to ensure an efficient and diligent subscription process. Government, he said, is taking advantage of the opportunity to tap into accounts held by Belizean businesses and individuals for U.S. dollars and is tax-free.
Underlining his reassurance of broad financial sector stability and continued commercial access to foreign currency for essential imports, Barrow announced the first disbursement in the coming days of the Inter-American Development Bank financial package, with more to come from Taiwan, the World Bank and OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) to the tune of US $100 million, to which he adds expected tourism revenue when the season reopens. The reserve position was stated to “surpass the traditional three months of import cover.”
Beyond the innovation of this first-of-a-kind Treasury Note, Barrow said, Government and the Central Bank will continue to engage financial intermediaries and their customers, encouraging fair and timely measures that foster confidence, stimulate employment and protect equity.
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