Govt rebuilding relationship with int’l community — Finance Minister

…to bring development agenda “back on track”

Government has commenced diligent engagements with the international community to restore the relationships that were shackled from the political stalemate since 2018, which had impeded the country’s development.
This is according to Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh, who on Friday said that since democracy was restored with the swearing-in of the PPP/C Administration in August, major partners have been re-engaged to recommit the country’s support for national progress.
For almost two years, investors had signalled little intention of investing locally, after the APNU/AFC coalition fell to the PPP-sponsored No-Confidence Motion in December 2018. Thereafter, even the international community deduced serious concerns and projects were even placed on a standstill, Dr Singh said, adding that now, the new Administration is taking a proactive approach in resuscitating investments and moreover, their connection with these stakeholders.
Dr Singh shared: “President Irfaan Ali’s Government has set about in a very diligent way to re-engage the international community with a view of restoring the relationships with our major development partners, multilateral and bilateral. In many cases, these relationships had become complicated and ground to a standstill as a result of the political events between March and August, in fact, starting from December 2018 to August.”

Finance Minister
Dr Ashni Singh

He noted that financing is extremely important in fostering “aggressive” development in the country. More so, they are seeking to accelerate growth and progress.
“Recognising the importance of mobilising resources to finance an aggressive development agenda, we have set about re-engaging all of our development partners in a very proactive way and even perhaps, aggressive way to ensure that we bring the development agenda back on track and to accelerate its movement going forward.”
The Minister projected that the country is on the verge of many positive inclinations, given the interest that has been shown to invest after just a few months in office.
He indicated, “You see that happening in our conversations with all of the multilateral institutions, regional development banks and bilateral partners. You see a renewed vigour in our engagement with the aim of mobilising resources to finance a development agenda that will once again, put Guyana on a trajectory that will see development economically and improvement to the quality of lives of all Guyanese.”
On Friday, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) announced that it has approved funding for the road project spanning 121 kilometres from Linden to Mabura Hill. Some US$112 million of the US$190 million project was allocated by the Bank, representing the largest project that the CDB has financed in its 50 years of existence.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, a massive 42 bids were submitted to the Public Works Ministry for the construction of the new Demerara Harbour Bridge. After the bids were counted, Dr Singh dubbed it as an unprecedented level of interest in the major infrastructure.
The Bank of Guyana (BoG) has revealed that for the first quarter of this year, Guyana’s capital revenue from sources that included grants and debt relief took a nosedive of over 90 per cent, coinciding with the period of political uncertainty before and after the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
This is contained in the Bank’s recently released quarterly report and statistical bulletin for the first quarter of 2020, which revealed that total capital revenue for the period amounted to $369 million.
“Total capital revenue, including grants & debt relief, fell by 94.1 per cent to G$369 million. Local capital receipts recorded earnings of G$1.3 million during the review period…Grants and debt relief were lower by 94.2 per cent to G$368 million, mainly due to the lack of grants during the first quarter of 2020, while debt relief from Enhanced HIPC (E-HIPC) decreased by 0.7 per cent to G$368 million,” the report noted.
While the report did not specify the reason for the slowdown in grants from other countries and organisations, it fell within the period of election campaigning and the efforts of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to prepare for General and Regional Elections. In addition, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) had been in caretaker status since December 2018 when it lost a No-Confidence Motion. (G12)