GEORGETOWN, Guyana, September 20, 2018 (CMC) – Guyana has signed a US$20 million loan with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to support the improvement of the country’s power supply, through the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL Inc.).
Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, and the IsDB’s Vice President of Sector Operation, Mansur Muhtar, signed the agreement in Kuwait, according to a government statement, issued here.
It said that the loan is part of the utility company’s upgrade program, a component of its development and expansion program for 2014 to 2021.
Jordan said the agreement cements “our growing relationship and the proactive use of the indicative resource envelope for Guyana”.
“The (the loan agreement) incorporates necessary reforms and upgrades to reduce losses, and improve the quality and reliability of electricity supply and will, at the same time, help to transform Guyana’s infrastructural landscape, boost our manufacturing sector and improve the quality of life of our citizens.
“The United Nations 2030 Agenda espouses aspirations for human dignity. Undoubtedly, the objective is ‘to leave no one behind’. This laudable objective is in keeping with the principles of the Islamic Development Bank. It is also the cornerstone of my government’s approach to development. This, is perhaps, why we have been able to establish such a close working relationship, in such a short period,” Jordan said.
He said the agreement could not have come at a more opportune time.
“This was especially since, Guyana is on the cusp of a historic transformation with the recent discovery of over four billion barrels of oil,” he said, adding that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has described Guyana’s medium-term economic prospects as “very favourable” and predicted gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 29.1 percent in 2020.
“The IMF has commended us on our prudence and restraint towards borrowing, in anticipation of future oil revenues. As such, our public debt stood at a highly sustainable 52.2 percent of GDP at the end-2017,” Jordan said, adding that the government looks forward to working with the IsDB on projects in several sectors, including agriculture.
“I wish to express 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…This support will result in better care for the elderly,” he said.
Last November, the IsDB mounted a mission to Guyana to develop a medium-term work plan for the period 2018-2022.
The government statement said that the plan outlines a pipeline of projects that the bank can support over the next five years. The IsDB has a resource envelope of over US$90 million that is potentially available for the government to source.