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Concerns over too much borrowing dominate debate in Senate on $14 million loan for blue economy project

EU Fishing Ban on Belize

Posted: Sunday, October 29, 2023. 8:47 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) has been taking the opportunity to hammer the Government at every opportunity for increasing the national debt through borrowing.

They had another opportunity in the Senate on Thursday with a US$7 million (BZ$14 million) loan from the Inter-American Development Bank to execute a blue economy project that will promote sustainable growth.

Michael Peyrefitte, Lead Opposition Senator, directly challenged Minister of State for Finance Senator Christopher Coye to consider ending international borrowing: “… if you don’t want to hear the same thing from this side of the Senate and the Belizean people the same thing over and over, then stop doing the same thing over and over and over. Indeed you don’t need a financial genius to tell you, you simply look at the supplemental and the financial bills and the loans, since November 2022, and Madam President it is at one point one billion dollars. So when you talk about we come here and we criticize loans, well stop making loans.”

The UDP argues that money should have been found in the Budget, or from reserves, for such programs, but Senator Coye in his response insists that the debt is now manageable: “You refer to this loan here as more loans but what had been happening in the past was a bucket full of loans up to 2020, but no growth. So that is why we couldn’t pay the bills, the past administration could not pay the bills. But in the functioning of the government, we are always dealing with debts. But you have to know how to manage your debt. Clearly, the past administration had no clue how to manage debt, how to manage its finances. This administration does.”

 

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