Lotto operator, Canadian Bank Note (CBN) has been operating on a monthly licence and President Donald Ramotar yesterday indicated that government is considering going back to tender on the franchise.
“Maybe there should be some consideration on going out back to tender to see if we can get a better deal on that,” the President said at a news conference at State House yesterday. He noted that CBN through its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Guyana Lottery Company (GLC) has been here for a long time but said decisions on going back to tender have not been made as yet and that is why the company has not been given a long-term commitment as this point in time.
In 1996, government and CBN signed an agreement under which the Guyana Lottery Company Limited was granted permission to operate a lottery in Guyana. Under the terms of the agreement, the company pays to the Government of Guyana a licence fee of 24% of gross revenues, decreased by the amounts of any additional fees and taxes.
According to the Auditor General’s Report of 2011, during the period 1996 to 2011, amounts totalling $4.022 billion were received from the GLC and deposited into the Lotto Fund. It said that at the end of 2011, the balance in the account was $853.744 million and that $134.840 million was used in 2011. The monies were spent in the areas of culture, youth and sport development, financed medical treatment overseas and support for disadvantaged groups, among others.
Ramotar, meantime, was also asked about Chinese investment in Guyana and he said that he had no concerns. “Absolutely not. I welcome Chinese investment in the country as I will welcome any other investment in our society. We need investment now,” he said adding that worldwide, the Chinese seem to have more capital available that is helping to drive the world economy.
Chinese investments are important and their investments here are welcomed, he declared. The President said that there are clear investment guidelines here and he does not think that the Chinese are going outside of those guidelines. He also asserted that the terms of deals with the Chinese are more favourable compared to multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank, Caribbean Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.
“I think the arrangements with the Chinese…are probably far more favourable than many of the other arrangements, the interest rates and so forth that we’ve had and also the speed at which they could conclude transactions also seems to be, my impression, much quicker,” he said.
Multi-billion dollar Chinese loans are being used for several major projects in Guyana including the airport expansion project and upgrading the Guyana Power and Light transmission system, among several others.