Basic Needs Trust Fund 7 Launches In Belize
The Basic Needs Trust fund is a regional grant program geared toward poverty reduction infrastructure that is in existence for over thirty years. In that time the BNTF has expended almost 190 million U.S dollars regionally including Belize. Under the Social Investment Fund the Basic Needs Trust Fund seven was officially launched this morning in Belize City Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Santiago Castillo says this project means for Belize.
ďFirst of all itís the first one that the CDB is doing; itís a big one, itís 12.8 million dollars through the basic needs trust fund, 7th tranche. Itís being done through SIF and itís all geared towards poverty alleviation for those people who need it the most. So, that Ďs what makes it very interesting and that together with the 30 million that we had already gotten through the SIF 2 program thatís a lot of money that will be invested into the poorer sectors of Belize during the next few months. Where the project will be implemented will be worked out over the next 2 days but certainly it will be in areas such as education, such as housing, such as those areas we feel need it the most to uplift Belize more or less as best as possible with the funds that we have through this program and clearly we are very grateful to our partners, the Caribbean development Bank who in there speech today mentioned that Belize is one of the country that has showed the best economic recovery and that is why they have so much faith and that is why there are launching it in Belize today. Where infrastructure is concerned we feel that weíve accomplished a lot of that already, if you look around the city and we will accomplish more but certainly the needs of Belizeans, we felt was very important to address with these funds which is why we shifted in that direction for this BNTF7.Ē
Castillo says that through the project employment will be created. The funding for the BNTF 7 program presents an increase of about 75 percent over the BNTF 6 program. Portfolio Manager of the Basic Needs Trust Fund of the Caribbean Development Bank, Darren Newman Belgrave explained that once tackling poverty is on the agenda, it is a plus for a country to qualify.
ďBelize will definitely, automatically qualify as long as you have vulnerable communities and other challenges be faced by the poorest people and then definitely thatís a main criteria for being involved in the program, as I said, a critical part of our sustainable development strategy and for poverty reduction . The funds are allocated to each country based on poverty reduction and challenges; you do have poverty reduction action plan in the beginning and that helps you to determined how to allocate the funds. The overall contribution comes from a special development fund which has other contributors and it also involves a counterpart funding from the government.Ē
A two day workshop geared to focus on a number of issues succeeded the launch and Belgrave told us what CDB is bringing to the table.
ďItís a new era, itís a new chapter in this very important program. We are bringing a stronger focus on quality on access to improved quality education. We have three core sectors: water & sanitation, community access and drainage. in Belizeís case, we would be focusing more on quality education and thatís building more schools, day care centres and ensuring that not only are we building schools but that quality education is being delivered. Weíre bringing a stronger focus on citizens security, targeting some of our interventions to youth at risk; we canít leave them out, we canít allow them to be sidelined in the struggle against poverty and we will also be reinforcing gender equality and disaster and risk management.Ē
The workshop will come to an end tomorrow. The program cycle for the BNTF 5 ended in 2012 with one hundred and one projects valued at over seventeen million dollars and the BNTF 6 is expected be completed at the end of 2013 with twenty two projects valued at over seven million dollars.