By Aaron Humes: The Government of Belize has gotten approval from the House of Representatives for a further loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for a US$8 million loan to fund the program for strengthening public expenditure management.
In introducing the loan motion, Prime Minister John Briceño reminded the House of the past government’s many sins as he saw them, including mismanagement of funds and revenue to the point of near-bankruptcy of the nation.
To continue the turnaround, Briceño said, “We requested, and the IDB board has agreed to provide, financing to promote the fiscal sustainability of Belize by strengthening public financial management. This loan will finance several components most important to financial management and procurement.”
Among the reforms to be introduced are a new cash management business model to better manage and allocate financing resources; reorganizing the structure of the Debt Unit and implementing a new public debt business model with the capacity to quantify the fiscal impact of acquiring new debt and stimulate new scenarios to optimize debt management; supporting the establishment of an internal audit unit and control model to the Ministry of Finance, to be extended to other line ministries and getting two new SmartStream models for asset and project management.
Under the line of procurement, Briceno said the loan would cover technical assistance in centralizing procurement activities and bringing them online, among other things.
The loan will be disbursed over five years and repaid over 25 at a relatively low-interest rate.
Leader of the Opposition Moses “Shyne” Barrow signaled the Opposition’s support, saying he hoped the Government would abide by the oversight that this strengthening of framework through this loan will provide.