Guyana signs historic US$20m loan with IsDB

Minister Finance Winston Jordan (second from right) exchanging documents. Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson is at left. (Ministry of Finance photo)

Guyana yesterday signed a historic first loan for US$20m with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Finance Minister Winston Jordan played up the country’s prospects in light of the looming oil and gas economy.

The loan from the IsDB is earmarked for the power sector which has seen decades of woes. The USS20m is part of a US$880m envelope that is available to Guyana over four years from the IsDB as long as bankable proposals are presented.

According to a copy of his remarks released yesterday by the Ministry of Finance, Jordan said “Today’s ceremony is a celebration of the first loan to be granted by the Bank to my country, in the process cementing our growing relationship and the proactive use of the indicative resource envelope for Guyana”.

He said that the US$20m loan will support Guyana’s Power Utility Upgrade Programme which is part of the Guyana Power and Light’s Development and Expansion Programme for 2014 to 2021. He told the signing ceremony that the loan  incorporates necessary reforms and upgrades to cut losses, and improve the quality and reliability of electricity supply. 

He added that the loan could not have come at a more opportune time, especially since, Guyana is “on the cusp of an historic transformation with the recent discovery of over 4B barrels of oil. Those discoveries began in 2015 and, to date, have numbered nine”.

He also stated that the International Monetary Fund has deemed Guyana’s medium-term economic prospects as “very favourable” and predicts that  GDP will grow by 29.1 percent in 2020, the first year of oil production.

Jordan said that Guyana looks forward to working with the IsDB on projects in several sectors, including agriculture. He expressed gratitude to the Bank for the Reverse-Linkage Project, which will assist in updating Guyana’s expertise and technology in rice production as well as introduce innovative rice varieties in Guyana. He also expressed appreciation for a  grant from the IsDB for the modernisation and upgrade of the Palms Geriatric Facility.

“Over the next few days, my team and I will be involved in activities that will bring a greater and deeper appreciation for the principles and practices of Islamic banking. We are looking forward to this new knowledge, as we strive to deepen and widen our engagement”, Jordan said.

He was accompanied to the signing by Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson.

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