Belize’s Blue Bond has given Belize substantial debt relief. That was among the main pieces of information coming out of the University of Belize’s Second Annual Gian Ghandi Memorial Lecture held today. Financial Secretary Joseph Waight, who presented the lecture on this topic, explained in layman’s terms that, essentially, Belize borrowed “fresh” money to repay “old” money at substantially better rates – that is, the Blue Bond replacing the Super Bond.

Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary

“We had the Super Bond in front of us. It was a figure of five hundred and fifty million U.S. dollars. It was in distress. We were able, through a novel program with our international conservation partners called the T.M.C., we were able to borrow new money –two hundred and sixty-five million dollars to buy back the Super Bond at a sharp discount of forty-five percent. So we borrowed money, paid off the Super Bond, borrowed money on far better terms, but there was also an obligation that we would spend some of the money – government would engage with our international environmental partners in a long-term marine conservation program. It’s the first year of the program. We have met our first level of targets; its novel, it’s an example to the rest of the world, and it has given us much-needed debt relief. In fact, our debt-to-G.D.P.-ratio, I told you at the beginning was a hundred and twenty-nine, a hundred and thirty percent of G.D.P. This effort shaved off at least twenty points. We’re now down to about a hundred and twelve percent of G.D.P. And our program is to take it below a hundred, down to more comfortable levels at around ninety percent or so in two years’ time. But to do that we will have to continue very tight fiscal management and not spend more than we are taking in. And I’m pleased to say that in the first few quarters, our G.D.P. has rebounded to almost eight percent of G.D.P., which is a significant improvement, but as the other slide shows on the right hand side, we are not back to where we were before. We’re still about nine percent below where we were in 2019.”

Channel 5