Finance Minister says IsDB will continue to be a highly valued development partner

0
Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh

During his address at the 2022 Meeting of the Islamic Development Bank (ISDB), Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh while extending congratulations to the Bank on another successful year and greetings from His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali, the Government and people of Guyana, explained that due to the various challenges being faced by a number of countries, the work of the Bank is even more important to  those countries in the months and years ahead.

“Excellencies, we meet at a time when the global economy is reeling from multiple intertwined shocks. First, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt in many of our countries, with productive activity still muted in many places and the global supply chain still in deep dislocation. On top of this, war in Ukraine has further disrupted production and trade in key commodities, resulting in additional inflationary pressure. As a result, global economic growth is now projected to slow from 6.1 percent in 2021 to 3.6 percent in 2022 and 2023 and, beyond 2023 is projected to decline further to 3.3 percent into the medium term,“ the Finance Minister emphasized.

He added that inflation for 2022 is projected at 5.7 percent in advanced economies and 8.7 percent in emerging market and developing economies, and many countries are experiencing their highest levels of inflation in decades as he noted that the impact is being felt most severely by the vulnerable, both within and across countries.

Minister Singh pointed out that alongside the immediate crises, countries continue to face a global climate crisis of no less urgency, with gaping gaps between stated ambition and policy action which he reminded is a matter that will be the focus of attention in Sharm El Sheikh at COP27.

Alluding to the situation in Guyana, Minister Singh highlighted the work Government has been doing in the area of Climate Change.

“On the climate front, despite being a new oil producer, Guyana places the highest level of importance to our climate credentials. As a low low-lying coastal state, we are ourselves extremely susceptible to rising sea levels and flooding. At the same time, as a heavily forested country with low rates of deforestation, we are making an outsized contribution to the global fight against climate change. Our Low Carbon Development Strategy articulates these two intersecting realities, outlining a plan to ensure that the role of our standing forests in the global effort to flight climate change is recognised and remunerated, in order to enable us to make the required investments to achieve accelerated economic growth along a low carbon climate-friendly trajectory,” Dr. Singh explained.

He noted too that Government has taken a number of actions to limit the effects of COVID-19 on the lives of citizens and on the economy to contain ‘the passthrough of imported price pressure on the most vulnerable’ while also structuring these measures as far as possible to ensure they help stimulate productive activity in key areas such as agriculture. He concluded that as a result, despite the unhelpful external conditions, real growth of over 7 percent is projected in Guyana’s non-oil economy in 2022.

Dr. Singh explained further that in order to sustain strong non-oil growth into the medium and longer term, Government is putting in place the prerequisites for diversifying the productive sector, improving competitiveness, and increasing resilience including investing in adequate, reliable, affordable, and cleaner electricity which is essential for a competitive manufacturing sector, expanding and upgrading transport infrastructure, improving internal access; ramping up food production by bringing more acreage under cultivation and widening the range of crops grown as well as animals reared.

While concluding his presentation, the Senior Finance Minister posited that the Islamic Development Bank will continue to be a highly valued development partner for Guyana reminding that ‘we are already at an advanced stage of developing new projects for our portfolio with the Bank, including one in transport infrastructure that is due to go to the executive board in September’. He noted that other projects, mostly in advancing the infrastructure upgrade and build-out agenda, will follow later.

Among those in attendance at the Annual meeting being held in Sharm El Sheikh in the Arab Republic of Egypt were His Excellency Dr. Hala ElSaid, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Development Bank and His Excellency Dr. Muhammad Sulaiman AlJasser President of the IsDB. Minister Singh was accompanied at the meeting by Guyana’s Ambassador to Qatar, Safraaz Shadood.

The theme of this year’s meeting was ‘Beyond Recovery: Resilience and Sustainability’. [Press Release]