Archive for November, 2006

Belize restructures debt

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

In accordance with the International Monetary Fund, Belize reduced a deficit of 9% of GDP to 3% of GDP in just 2 years. nevertheless, in the middle of September the government admitted being close to default, and therefore it will have to restructure its debt.

Prime Minister Said Musa denied that planning a devaluation, still, market rumours suggest cutting of 25% to 50% of the loans for existing debt holders.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has recently lowered Belize’s sovereign credit rating from CCC- to CC. Standard & Poor’s suggested that a punitive debt swap would reduce the rating to SD (Selective Default).

Currently, Belize’s 6 outstanding international bonds form the total of USD 338 million and USD 253 million in commercial loans. Then, USD 116 million is the sum accounted for by domestic debt. It is likely that all external debt will be swapped for a new bond issue.

Prime Minister Musa suggested asking for the cooperation of Belize’s creditors in order to put the debt stock on a sustainable financial footing and blamed 4 tropical storms which hit Belize between 1999 and 2003 in the country’s misfortunes as well as mentioned a major infrastructure investment programme and rising oil prices.

Belize government to control debt

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

In the end of August, 2006, the International Monetary Fund consulted Belize and, following these consultations, in accordance with a report from the IMF, the Said Musa administration reduced the public debt from 9% of the GDP to 3.5%.

The IMF concluded that “Belize’s economy has reached a critical juncture”. Belize has enjoyed better-than-average growth and price and currency stability for the last 10 years, but this, to a large extent, was happening due to too expansionary policies that led to enormous public borrowing and the external current account deficit. Therefore, the IMF consulted Belize’s authorities to develop a policy framework to solve the above-mentioned problem.

This is good news for Belize that the government is trying to control its high debt. Prime Minister Musa considers the report by the IMF to be an endorsement of the government’s attempt to turn around the Belize’s vague economy.

Belize and CABEI sign Association Agreement

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

It goes without saying that Belize plays the role of a bridge between Central America and the Caribbean. And Belize has been working on deepening its integration with both regions. Recently, Belize made an important step towards the Central America region.

On September 25, 2006, an Association Agreement was signed between the Government of Belize and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI). The agreement was signed at the Office of the Prime Minister to enable Belize to be incorporated to CABEI as a non-founding Beneficiary Member. The Prime Minister of Belize, Rt. Hon. Said Musa signed the agreement on behalf of Belize and the President of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, Mr. Harry E. Brautigam, signed it on behalf of the CABEI.

The Central American Bank for Economic Integration was established by the Government of Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua to promote and integrate the social and economic development of the Central American states.

It has been operating already for 43 years, contributing to the transformation of Central America into a dynamic region. During the next 2 years, CABEI is about to invest USD 2 billion in its 3 major problems, which are globalization, poverty alleviation and integration process.

As a non-founding Beneficiary Member, the Government and the private sector of Belize will benefit from projects and programmes financed by CABEI.

Before signing the agreement, Prime Minister Musa expressed his opinion on the necessity for greater economic cooperation with Belize’s Central American neighbours and on the economic realities Belize is facing. The investments CABEI has made in the Central American region influenced the decision of Belize to join it. Over the next few years, the massive investments are expected in economic and social development, and a special emphasis will be made on the reduction of poverty. Also, the money borrowed from CABEI will be spent on health, education, rural development as well as small and medium enterprise funding.

Lucent & BTL sign contract

Saturday, November 11th, 2006

On September 19, 2006, Belize Telecommunications Limited (BTL) and Lucent Technologies announced an agreement for Lucent to deploy a real-time rating and charging solution for BTL voice and data services.

In the nearest future, BTL will be launching new and enhanced services to prepaid customers with the help of Lucent’s SurePay(R) Real Time Rating and Charging Engine. The Lucent SurePay(R) solution is a highly scalable pre-paid/post-paid billing solution providing support for a wide range of data, voice, content charging and e-commerce services. Lucent’s Real-Time Rating and Charging Platform has been commercially deployed in networks all over the world, and the platform now is based on more than 135 million subscribers, and customer base is rapidly growing. Deploying this solution, BTL will be able to meet the needs of the market and provide enhanced value offer maximizing the return on its investment.

Lucent also provides BTL with a Short Message Service Center (SMSC) platform with the Wireless Messaging Gateway (WMG) module allowing users to send and to receive short messages to and from their email addresses.

Lucent Worldwide Services will integrate the SurePay(R) application into the customer’s current infrastructure as well as install and integrate the Lucent applications suite.

Lucent Technologies deals with designing and delivering the services, systems and software for next-generation communications networks. Its customers are communications service providers, governments and enterprises all over the world.

Belize Telecommunications Limited is the leading provider of communication services in Belize that uses modern technology and provides advanced telecommunication solutions for Wireline, Wireless and High-Speed Data Services. BTL is the monopoly operator in Belize. According to the Mobile World subscriber database, it has some 155,000 subscribers.