BTL loan signing agreement with Taiwan ICDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 06 July 2018 00:00

The Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) signed a loan agreement with the Taiwan ICDF on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Through those funds from that loan, the company will be expanding its services, with the hopes to have the entire country “fiberized” by mid next year. Fiber is slowly being rolled out in the country to replace copper connections but because of this loan, the replacement can and will be done a lot faster.

According to Ivan Tesecum, Chief Financial Officer, B.T.L., “It is very significant because it is the replacement of outdated copper infrastructure network that has already begun in July last year and this funding helps us on our path to ensure that the majority of the country of Belize is fiberized. Studies have shown that for every ten percent in broadband connectivity there is an increase in GDP of 1.38%. This means that for Belize it is a robust and good path to economic growth and activity. It also means that for Belizeans throughout the country of Belize, the infrastructure that is being laid with the support from Taiwan ICDF also parallels and gives them the ability to experience speeds that rival any jurisdiction throughout the world.”

The USD $17.5 million loan had terms and conditions which included the provision by the Government of an irrevocable and unconditional loan guarantee and while that guarantee was approved by parliament months ago, they were officially signed at the loan agreement ceremony.

A seventeen point five million U.S. dollars loan from the Taiwanese Government through the International Cooperation Development Fund was secured for Belize Telemedia. The terms and conditions of the loan included the provision by the Government of an irrevocable and unconditional loan guarantee. While parliament approved the guarantee a few months ago, the documents were officially signed on Thursday. According to Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary, GOB, “It’s a requirement for the loan agreement where the majority of the owners will underwrite the loan while it may be critical and large for B.T.L.,  it is relatively small for the Government of Belize. But essentially it was a security for the loan so it can be processed and disbursed very quickly.”

Also at the loan agreement ceremony was Rochus Schreiber, CEO, BTL, who says that while the loan is for BZD $35 million, the estimated cost of the project is actually BZD $96 million. The rest of the funds will be obtained from the company’s cash flow as well as another loan from a local bank. He also says that the company is capable of generating the monies needed but the loan will allow them to roll out the installation of fiber in a more efficient and time effective manner. “This financing was coming from the operating cash flow. So what we are saying is that we are able to roll out this plan on our own. However, we see demand in the country, our customers, Belizeans, they want to have this access to fast internet to topnotch quality communications as quickly as possible. So instead of rolling it out over a number of years, with the loan we are able to accelerate the roll and complete it by next year.”

H. E. Ambassador Timothy T. Y. Hsiang, TaiwanICDF, Secretary General, was also present. He expressed his satisfaction with the relationship made with BTL as well as that between Belize and Taiwan. “In the process of discussing with BTL I can feel strongly that the BTL with the fast response and our activities, the way we are working together, made me feel that not only the government itself but the BTL as well have a strong determination to develop the ICT related industry in our sectors so that’s the same reason I am very happy because I am here today to join the very important national development in Belize because everybody knows the importance of ICD development. Now we are so honored and pleased to be joining this program and I believe the relationship now is to represent the new horizon for the relationship between Taiwan ICDF and Belize. It also indicates to go into further strong set the relationship between Taiwan and the Belize.”

Besides the aforementioned persons, other relevant persons also sat at the head table. Those included Eric Eusey, BTL Board of Directors; Nestor Vasquez, Chairman, Board of Directors, BTL; and H.E. Charles K. Y. Liu, Ambassador of Taiwan to Belize.