Gov’t to seek to tap all available IsDB funding

-Jordan

Minister of Finance Winston Jordan (second from right) speaking at the Tunis, Tunisia meeting of the IsDB where the resource envelope was announced. (Ministry of Finance photo)

With up to US$900 million in funding available from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Minister of Finance Winston Jordan has said that he will be looking to tap into the entire amount.

“What I am saying is, if I can find projects, bankable projects, I will take the whole thing,” Jordan told a news conference on Friday.

In a recent statement, the Finance Ministry said projects have to be designed to access the funds. It added that the potential areas of collaboration between the Bank and the government here cover several development sectors, including agriculture, banking and finance, human development, energy and rural development.

Jordan last Friday said that a mechanism for projects government would undertake with the money needs to first be worked out after due diligence.

“Over the period of several days, we would have examined where Guyana is going, what’s Guyana’s developmental objectives and whether these were in consonance with the bank. There were broad sectors and we did not agree on any project,” he said, while noting that broad sectors that can attract the monies include energy, agriculture, rural development, human development, economic infrastructure, banking and finance.

“It is the largest resource envelope that would have been made available to Guyana by any multilateral bank,” he added, while noting that the cumulative sum of what is available from other development banks pale in comparison. “[The] IDB [Inter-American Development Bank], our new resource envelope with them is about US$38 million; World Bank, US$90 million; Caribbean Development Bank, US$110 million, most of which will be used to blend with the UK [Caribbean Infrastructure Fund] resources to do the first phase of the Linden-Lethem road and that would take us up to Mabura plus the bridge across the Kurupukari. Still, we will have a phase between Mabura and Kurupukari that we would have to go looking for financing. With OPEC’s Fund for International Development (OFIC), our resource envelope there is US$20 million. When you put all of that together, it can’t even build the bridge across the Demerara River. The needs of Guyana are so great that while we are thankful for the assistance we are getting from multilateral banks and so on, it is not going to bring us into the 20th century, even though we are already in the 21st century,” he said

“So, we have to find any number of ways of financing our development and we need huge sums of money. One of them is what we have just completed, the Public Private Partnership Framework document, which you will be able to access on the April 26, 2018,” he added.

He said that all projects proposed from the loan will be in keeping with his government’s Green Development Strategy but he already knows what some of the needs are.

“I have sugar that needs financing. I have renewable energy that needs financing, I got roads and so on. If I have bankable projects number one… the bank will do its due diligence on Guyana too to see whether we have capacity to repay. It is not a case where they are giving us a gift. Nothing has changed, all I am saying to you is that they have made a resource envelope available as to whether you can borrow…,” he said.

“The envelope is 2017 to 2022, so Guyana’s GDP [Gross Domestic Product] will suddenly accelerate in 2020, as a result of oil. The GDP will expand. In 2020, you will have phenomenal growth rate—unheard of growth rate in Guyana to be quite honest, not since the days of slavery and the starting of sugar—and the next year it is going to flatten out,” he added.

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