World Bank lends GOB $30M for municipal development
The Government of Belize received a $30 million soft loan, from the World Bank, to be used for municipal developments throughout Belize on Thursday, December 2.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dean Barrow, signed on Belize’s behalf, and Mrs. Yvonne Tsikata, Country Director for the Caribbean at the World Bank, signed on behalf of the World Bank.
The loan comes from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development; one of the branches of the World Bank. The money will be used to pay for several capacity building initiatives to be implemented within selected municipalities.
The project is designed and will be executed in two phases. The first phase shall focus on capacity-building in the communities. It will incorporate strategies that revolve around the giving of technical assistance and training in areas such as: “revenue generation, finance, human resource and traffic management”.
Alongside the capacity building phase, the project also looks at infrastructural developments. The funds will be used to “carry out small-scale infrastructure projects - namely streets and drains that were identified as priority areas during town hall consultations held in each municipality.
The Project Implementation Unit (PIU), which is a subdivision of the Social Investment Fund, will function as the executors for this project.
Ernest Raymond Sr., Project Coordinator for Belize Municipalities Development Project, explained that work has already commenced.
Raymond said that although the physical aspects of the project won’t begin until next May, the PIU has already begun with the preliminary steps. The initial stages are scheduled to be completed by April 2011.
Raymond took the opportunity to highlight the specific development plans that will be implemented in two of the municipalities.
The first is the expansion of the Town Market in Dangriga.
The second is the expansion of Toledo’s Town Council; an expansion that Raymond says will be done so as to enable the Council to achieve an improved Traffic Department.
Corozal, Orange Walk, San Ignacio/Santa Elena, Benque Viejo, Dangriga, Punta Gorda and Belmopan also have projects for development.
Belize City and San Pedro are not included in this project, but Raymond reassured that these two municipalities have not been forgotten. They will benefit under a different project that will be funded by the International Development Bank (IDB).
This Belize-World Bank initiative is the first project since Belize’s re-engagement with the Bank. Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow signs the loan agreement with the World Bank's Mrs. Yvonne Tsikata. The Reporter