The Government of Belize has officially
announced the privatization of the Water and Sewerage Authority through the sale
of shares in the new water company Belize Water Services Ltd. (BWSL). The major
investor is CASCAL B.V., a consortium of a British company (BiWater Capital) and
a Dutch corporation (Nuon) with a purchase of over 33 million shares valued at
$49.6 million or 83 percent of the shares. BiWater is said to have over thirty
years experience in the water industry.
In a Government
of Belize release this week, it states "CASCAL has made a binding commitment to
improve the management of Belize Water Services Ltd. and to bring with it
enhanced technology and investment to improve and expand the water and sewerage
services in the urban areas of the country provided for in its Operations
License." The company has also been required, under the Water Industry Act, to
obtain a (water) Abstraction License for areas previously used as water sources
for WASA. Director of CASCAL, Roger Webster, stated that the company was looking
forward to the challenges Belize Water Services would take on to improve and
expand the water services to the country.
had earlier announced that the privatized company would be committed to the
expansion and improvement of water supply and sewerage services within existing
AND future service areas. Although these service areas do not include the
current independent rural water systems, CASCAL has been invited to open
discussions with rural communities with a view to improving the operations of
these rural systems.
The Belize Social Security Board
acquired four million shares, valued at $6 million or ten percent of the share
offering. The Government of Belize will retain a "golden share" and Chairmanship
of the company's new Board of Directors. Social Security will nominate a
director. A total of 1400 Belizeans living home and abroad, including employees
of BWSL, purchased almost three million shares valued at $4.3 million or 7.3
percent of the share offering.
WASA is the third major
utility in the country to be sold by the Government of Belize.