Saturday, May 25, 2024

SSB loan proposal for pharmaceutical company raises concerns


Over the past few days, the news of a multi-million proposed loan from the Social Security Board (SSB) Investment Committee to a pharmaceutical supplier known as Pharmacy Express Limited has been raising eyebrows within the public, including the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW). The loan application from the said pharmaceutical company is for $7 million and is needed for ‘refinancing and inventory purposes.’
Pharmacy Express Limited is said to operate from a facility at mile 5 and a half on the George Price Highway outside of Belize City. When the loan proposal was made public, the company received significant criticism questioning such an application. It even triggered an official response from MOHW raising concerns over the proposed loan. The ministry placed on record some matters related to the loan and hopes to meet the autonomous SSB to relay their concerns before it makes its final determination on the proposed loan.
According to reports from the SSB, the loan facility is for ten years. Both principal and interest payments are to be made monthly on the declining balance. Pharmacy Express Limited has weighed in on the $7 million loan proposal. A release from the company indicates that they have been operating within the tourism village in Belize City since 2001 and was incorporated in December of 2003. The release reportedly says that the company caters strictly to cruise ship passengers.
Regarding its financial standing, the pharmaceutical company says audited records reveal that it has successfully operated for the past 21 years. As such, they will be able to meet the financial obligations to the SSB. The note also emphasized that it did not seek government or political influence to approve the loan.
While the SSB board is autonomous, the current government appoints the board. Therefore, the Cabinet’s position on this matter is expected to influence the final decision regarding the loan.

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