Posted: Tuesday, September 7, 2021. 1:19 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: “My administration promised you debt reduction and debt relief; this proposal delivers both in spades.”
It is an attention-grabbing statement from Prime Minister John Briceño at a time when his young administration faces critical headlines, and bold as it may sound, the dominoes are in place to pull it off.
Later this week, the entire US$572 million bond due 2034 will be offered for buy-back and cancellation, offering a unique opportunity to put the saga started in 2007 behind us.
“Government has taken the decision that this transaction must eliminate the entirety of the Superbond, not just part of it. And under the terms of the bonds, this requires the support of 75 percent of the bondholders,” Briceño explained.
Belize will be discounted at 48.3 percent of face value plus interest for those who respond early. We pay back with a loan from an affiliate from The Nature Conservancy as part of an agreement to place monies in trust for conservation projects which we will tell you about separately.
Belize’s public debt would be reduced by BZ$500 million or 12 cents of every dollar. (Belize’s total debt stands at just about $4.3 billion as of January.)
Belize saves roughly $130 million in interest payments just in the current administration’s term alone, and more than $530 million over the life of the bond.
The Prime Minister formally enocuraged all involved to conclude the agreement as soon as possible, while giving Belize’s word we would get our side of the house in order.
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