Guyana will borrow billions of dollars next year to assist with developmental works, Finance Minister Winston Jordan disclosed on Monday.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Guyana’s largest lending institution, has approved four major loans to be signed early next year.
Minister Jordan announced that these loans amount to US$40 million altogether.
The first loan amounting to US$9 million will go towards enhancing national quality infrastructure for diversification and trade promotion, and will support the establishment of facilities for meteorology testing, lab equipment for the Bureau of Standards, as well as drafting a national export and investment promotion strategy.
The second loan, totalling US$8 million, will support the improvement of maternal child health, particularly with the rehabilitation of the CC Nicholson Hospital and the procurement equipment for health facilities at CC Nicholson as well as the Georgetown Public Hospital.
The third loan is to the tune of US$15 million and covers a sustainable agriculture development project, focusing on the construction and rehabilitation of centres in Regions 9 and 10. This loan will also cater for the undertaking of an agricultural census and pilot project in meat processing.
The fourth loan totals US$8 million and provides support for criminal justice system, specifically relating to alternative sentences intervention, strengthening of probation services, training of judges and magistrates and law reform.
The Finance Minister also disclosed that Government is also benefitting from technical assistance valued US$442,000 for the institutional strengthening of the country’s national statistics system which is aimed at assisting the Bureau of Statistics to undertake two critical data collection: Consumer Price Index and the rate of unemployment across the country.
He explained that unemployment studies were never done in Guyana, that the statistics quoted throughout the years are just proxies based on Georgetown.
The IDB also approved technical assistance for US$745,000 to modernise the valuation division in Guyana. The technical assistances seek to improve management in real property tax assessment, which according to the Minister, is significantly out-dated.
Additionally, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has also approved a loan this month for $8 million; which also has a grant component, and will address hinterland environmental sustainable agriculture development in Guyana and will support agriculture development activities in Regions 1 and 9.
Also, under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) €34 million has been allocated for sea and river defence programmes.
The Finance Minister disclosed too that the European Union Investment Bank, in an engagement with Guyana after 20 years, is reviewing three proposals submitted by the Government. These proposals are for private sector development, infrastructural development, and the generating of clean and renewable energy.
The Minister also highlighted that Government will enter a project with the World Bank aimed at preparing Guyana for an electronic national payment system.
In addition, he noted that the Guyana Government is engaging the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to ensure the organisation follows through with some promises it made when Guyana became a member in May.
Guyana will also receive US$194 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), some of which will be allotted to see if it is feasible to re-establish a development bank here.
The Minister also reminded of the concessionary loan agreement with the Caricom Development Fund (CDF) for a number of agriculture-related interventions. (Guyana Times)