By Marion Ali
On Wednesday, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Belize, Benjamin Ho, handed over a cheque worth US $5 million to Prime Minister Dean Barrow to assist in Belize’s poverty alleviation and infrastructural development projects.
The money, according to the Government’s Press Office, will be used “to cover a part of the expenditures on key infrastructure projects, including the Belize City Southside Poverty Alleviation Project Phase III, the extension of the Southern Highway to Jalacte in the Toledo District, and for the new crossing of the Macal River in San Ignacio/Santa Elena.”
The gift complements the government’s 2015 fiscal budget and falls under the Bilateral Cooperation Program between the two countries.
Henry Fan, councillor at the Taiwanese embassy, told The Reporter that each year “Taiwan assists the Belize government with money to cover some of its projects. Two thirds of the money for the projects comes from loans from lending institutions and Taiwan assists with a contribution.
“Our countries have had good diplomatic ties for many years and Belize is a developing country, so we assist in that development based on specific projects Belize outlines as priority each year”, Henry Fan stated.
Mr. Fan said that Taiwan requires that Belize “use the money on projects beneficial to all Belizeans.” He adds that Belize is also expected to provide some “accounting reports” on how it spends the money..
Reporter not able to reach Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Joseph Waight, to get a breakdown of how much will go towards each project, or to better explain in what specific areas of poverty alleviation the money will be invested. ..i\n.