Archive for September, 2013

Belize Telecommunications Limited reports annual fiscal results

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Belize Telecommunications Limited, a government-owned national operator, will hold its annual general meeting on September 26, when it is going to report a new profits decrease in the amount of US$5.5 million.

As compared to 2011, the gross revenue of telecommunications operator has fallen down significantly from US$158 million to US$144 million in 2013. Also, this year BTL will report an after tax profit of US$21 million – a decrease of 13 million as compared to US$34 million reported in 2011. Earnings per share have also dropped by 38 per cent, from US$0.68 in 2011 to US$0.42 in 2013.

BTL also informs about the changes in the company hierarchy and structure, particularly, setting up of an Executive Committee, which is comprised of two members; one of them is Belize Prime Minister’s son, Anwar Barrow.

National Bank of Belize started operations

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Last week, state-owned National Bank of Belize Limited started to accept applications for mortgage loans from public officers and middle income Belizeans. The Bank was opened on Monday, September 2, and the Board of Directors was commissioned to start operations as soon as possible.

In the keynote address at the opening or the Bank, Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow spoke about the unacceptable practice when “the spread between bank deposit rates and bank lending rates keeps widening in favor of the banks”. He also said: “Our bottom line is people and not profit. That is why our introductory offer to the people of Belize is an unbelievably low 5.5%.”

The National Bank is Government’s most recent initiative to encourage commercial banks to lower lending rates. Previous initiatives were friendlier towards those institutions, such as the increase in Treasury Bills to provide local banks with an opportunity to invest their excess capital and make a profit.

At this stage, the National Bank will provide mortgage loans, not exceeding US$100,000, to first time home owners. Last month, the House of Representatives approved an injection of $20 Million, which will be used as startup capital for the bank. The finances will be derived from the Petro-Caribe Initiative, allowing the Government of Belize to purchase fuel from Venezuela at concessionary rates.

Jose Karim Marin is the Managing Director of the National Bank. There are nine people currently on staff and hundreds of applications are being reviewed because the plan is to expand operations shortly. Also, immediately after the bank was declared open there were individuals starting the process to apply for loans.