Guyana to draw $16B in UK grant funding

-for major infrastructure works

Guyana is set to benefit from £53.2 million (around $16 billion) in grant resources from the United Kingdom under its newly established United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF), the Ministry of Finance announced yesterday.

The funds will be applied to six major infrastructure programmes, including waterfront development, water supply improvement and solid waste management, the ministry said in a statement. “The identified interventions will see improved road networks, bridges, stellings and waterfronts, rehabilitation of airstrips, reliable access to potable water and reduced energy costs as well as tackle the environmental and health risks associated with the improper disposal of waste,” the ministry said.

The statement revealed that Minister of Finance Winston Jordan along with Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson and Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan last week met with British High Commissioner Greg Quinn and representatives of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Department for International Fund (DFID) to discuss Guyana’s proposed infrastructural projects that are to be funded by UKCIF.

From left are Minister of Finance Winston Jordan, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson, British High Commissioner to Guyana Greg Quinn and other other officials. (Ministry of Finance photo)
From left are Minister of Finance Winston Jordan, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson, British High Commissioner to Guyana Greg Quinn and other other officials. (Ministry of Finance photo)

UKCIF is an ambitious investment undertaken by the United Kingdom, which will provide grant funding to improve or create new infrastructure such as roads, bridges and ports to help drive economic growth and development in nine countries across the Caribbean region. UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced the launch of the £300 million fund during his trip to Jamaica in September last year.

As a result, the Government of Guyana has identified and submitted project proposals for six major infrastructure development programmes.

The CDB has been designated by the UK government to design, develop and implement the programme in collaboration with the Government of Guyana.

A team from the CDB is expected to visit Guyana shortly to discuss the start of project preparation activities with the relevant sectoral agencies, the statement said.

In his budget presentation in January, Jordan had said that government was seeking to procure new river transport vessels. “To complement spending on the new fleet of ferries, emphasis will be placed on navigational aids and improving stellings and wharves. To this end, the Government has started preparations to access the UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund, to upgrade and reconstruct several facilities in Georgetown, Parika, Port Kaituma, Kumaka and Bartica, among other areas,” Jordan had said.

He had also revealed that government will aim to secure funding, through the UKCIF, to purchase a dredge to dredge waterways such as Port Georgetown.

The UKCIF was ratified last month by the CDB paving the way for implementation of the game-changing programme. In a statement at the time, the CDB had said that DFID will provide up to £300 million in grant financing from January 2016 to March 2020 to Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Montserrat. All projects will be submitted to the CDB by the national governments and may be for capital projects as well as technical assistance. The interventions must be anchored within CDB’s strategic objectives of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development and promoting good governance.

Only projects that are assessed to be critical drivers of economic growth and able to deliver an Economic Rate of Return of at least 12% or similar qualitative benefits will be approved for financing.

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