Prime Minister Dean Barrow presents plan

Monday, January 26th, 2009

“In approaching this first press conference for 2009, it was necessary to reiterate a message of hope and a plan of action. I thought this would provide an excellent forum to be made use of, to announce the $5 million dollar immediate Belize City plan and the contours of the fiscal spending – the public sector investment package that we have been able to secure from our external partners, which will provide the stimulus that is necessary.”

Held at the Radisson Fort George, Honorable Dean Barrow presented his quarterly press conference. Referring to the great economist, John Maynard Keynes who preached a doctrine that suggested you avoid or deal with a recession by running deficits and borrowing when the economy slows, because private sector investment just won’t be enough, Honorable Barrow commented, “We’re all Keynesians now,” quoting former US president Richard Nixon.
“In order to get us through the externally imposed constraints, we can and certainly will borrow ‘concessionally’ from the international financial institutions,” he said.

The financing is made up of:

(1) $60 million already approved by the Inter-American Development Bank, CABEI (Central American Bank for Economic Integration) and OFID (OPEC Fund for International Development) for tourism and solid waste management projects;

(2) $30 million from the Caribbean Development Bank – $20 million for the revived Development Finance Corporation and $10 million for the Belama drainage project and the improvement of the Northern Highway, from Belize City to Haulover, which is to be transformed into a 4-lane highway. Barrow said GOB would try to persuade the Social Security Board to lend DFC more funds, in the region of $10 million;

(3) $10 million from the Inter-American Development Bank for infrastructure rehabilitation on the Western Highway, at places like Mile 8 and 11 which experienced major flood damage;

(4) $30 million from the World Bank, which has revived lending to Belize, Barrow said, due to GOB’s good housekeeping seal of approval – funds for 6 municipalities, $5 million each, primarily for streets, drains, landscaping. Those funds won’t be available until around the third quarter of the year, said Barrow.

(5) $20 million grant from the European Union for road infrastructure in the north of the country;

(6) $20 million from the CARICOM Petroleum Fund, chartered by Trinidad & Tobago president, Patrick Manning;

(7) $10 million, without conditionality, from the International Monetary Fund, for balance of payments support as a consequence of flood damage; and

(8) $10 million from the Commonwealth Debt Initiative (CDI) for the Social Investment Fund and the BNTU.

“That then is our version of the stimulus package that, of course, so very many countries in the world are resorting to,” said the Prime Minister. “This will increase employment, pump money into the economy, and create the rising tide designed to float all boats, even at a time of recession.”

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