Archive for April, 2013

IFC assisting Belize to develop credit reporting system

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

International Finance Corporation, which is a member of the World Bank Group, and the Central Bank of Belize, supported by the Canadian International Development Agency, hosted the third Caribbean Credit Reporting Conference that was held in Belize City on April 19. This conference brings together representatives of financial institutions, credit unions, utilities, insurance companies and central banks in the region, and is aimed in building awareness and deepening knowledge of credit reporting systems. In 2012, these conferences were organized by IFC in St Kitts and Nevis and Jamaica.

IFC is helping Belize to establish its first credit reporting system, which will allow financial institutions to share credit information and better manage lending risks, thereby making loans more affordable and expanding access to finance for individual borrowers and small businesses.

Jun Zhang, IFC senior manager for the Caribbean, stated: “By working in partnership with the Central Bank of Belize, we can help build the infrastructure needed so financial institutions can make informed credit decisions on a vast number of individuals who have previously been underserved by the financial community because of a lack of credit information.”

IMF releases statement on consultation to Belize

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

On April 8-18, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission visited Belize with the purpose to yearly review the economy of the country in the context of the IMF consultation. At the conclusion of the visit, the head of the mission Gerardo Peraza released the statement with the estimations of Belize economy:

“In 2012, economic activity accelerated thanks to a strong rebound in agriculture and services, despite a sharp decline in crude oil production. Output growth is estimated at 5.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), led by a recovery from the 2011 effects of weather-related damages to commodity exports. Inflation averaged 1.4 percent in 2012, as commodity price pressures abated. The external current account deficit widened to about 1.7 percent of GDP, up from 1.1 percent of GDP in 2011, due to a steep drop in crude oil exports and higher imports of fuel and electricity. The fiscal primary surplus for FY2012/13 is expected to decline to 1.3 percent of GDP from 2.3 percent of GDP in FY2011/12. After two years of decline, credit to the private sector recovered in 2012. For 2013, output growth is expected to moderate to about 2.5 percent as the main export crops stabilize and crude oil production continues to contract.”

Mr Gerardo Peraza noted that the mission welcomes the collaboration and dialogue between the government of Belize and the Creditors Committee to achieve a consensual debt restructuring. The mission recommended the country to adopt a fully articulated macroeconomic framework, which should include robust fiscal consolidation, active debt management, steady financial sector reform and measures to buttress external sector resilience, as well as to implement structural reforms which would enhance competitiveness and growth prospects. Given the anticipated increase in gross financing needs, an active debt management framework and a robust medium-term debt management strategy should be developed.

It is said in the IMF statement that “the authorities need to strengthen Belize’s external position in light of the projected widening current account deficit, and access to external financing. In addition to a more ambitious fiscal consolidation, the mission recommends tackling major impediments to doing business in order to better attract investment, expand exports, and bolster external sustainability.”

The mission will prepare staff report which is to be discussed by the IMF Executive Board in June 2013.

Workshop organized in Belize by Caribbean Export Agency and Beltraide

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

The Caribbean Export Development Agency delivers a workshop on its direct assistance grant scheme, which is part of a wider mission of the Caribbean Export agency to Belize as it undertakes the execution of the Regional Private Sector Programme funded by the European Union. This is also part of Caribbean Export’s overall objective to enhance the competitiveness in the private sector of CARIFORUM.

The workshop is brought to Belize in partnership with Beltraide and will be attended by Belizean firms and business support organisations (BSOs). The purpose of the workshop is to increase the schemes awareness with the Belizean private sector, and achieve higher level of understanding the process of applying for grant funding. The workshop will also increase the number of applicants from Belize and also the number of successful applications of the direct assistance grant scheme.