PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Guyana, last Saturday, signed a US$7.3 million loan-grant agreement for agricultural infrastructural development, as President Donald Ramotar renewed his call for his Co-operative Republic to be viewed as the region’s bread basket.
“Guyana has great potential to contribute to the Caribbean food security,” he said, as his Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, signed the agreement with Ambassador Lorne McDonnough, the chief executive officer of the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF).
Ramotar said infrastructural investment had been lacking for many years as Guyana sought to improve its agricultural sector and that the agreement “will go a very long way to help stabilize the process”.
Ramotar noted that with the region’s annual food import bill estimated at between three and four billion US dollars, Guyana has the “capacity to fulfilling most of the markets that exist in the region”.
He said the new funding, which will allow for the construction and rehabilitation of the road network from Parika to Ruby on the east bank Essequibo, would also provide for jobs and improve the standard of living in the nearby communities.
Singh said that the agreement is the first project with the CDF and that Guyana’s country program had recently been approved by the Fund that was established to help disadvantaged region and countries prepare for the onset of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) that allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour and services across the 15-member grouping.
McDonnough said the funds include a US$4.6 million concessionary loan at three percent interest for 15 years.