IDB expands funding for capacity building efforts in Guyana as oil operations surge

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The accelerated pace of oil and gas operations in Guyana is demanding more from supporting institutions. The economic context is changing so quickly that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has had cause to restructure and expand a multi-million-dollar loan for the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS), to reflect the new order of the day. Guyana is set to benefit from US$17 million under the program.

In November 2016, the Bank had approved the operation of a project titled “Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) for Economic Diversification and Trade Promotion” for US$9 million, with the objective of supporting economic diversification and export in the new oil-based economy.

The specific objectives at the time the loan was approved are as follows: enhance the capacity of the NQI, improve facilities for the NQI, and enhance the capability of the Guyana Office for Investment for export and investment promotion. The US$9 million programme had three subcomponents: modernisation of the institutional framework of the NQI; improvement of laboratory facilities and equipment; and implementation of a national export and investment strategy.

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Under the rapidly expanding economic context for oil and gas between 2016 and 2021, the IDB said the demand for services from the GNBS increased significantly, thus the need to increase the physical scope of the original laboratory facility, for example, was necessary.

In order to align the government priorities of a more diversified and productive base, the Ministry of Finance on September 6, 2021, requested additional financing of up to US$3 million. This is to cater for new services required of GNBS in the area of business development and training in ISO Standards for Guyanese firms.

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The Bureau’s functions have also expanded to ensure the integration of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into new value chains (tourism, hospitality, construction, agribusiness, health, oil among others) and additional requirements for legal metrology.

In addition, the expansion of construction, manufacturing, agriculture, law enforcement and health services, as well as the modernisation of environmental and climate regulations to align with the Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030, require more legal metrology services. In light of this, the IDB said the request for the loan was updated on May 11, 2022, adjusting to the increase in construction costs in Guyana for additional financing up to US$8 million.

The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) which has grown from 65 to 130 employees since the emergence of oil, operates under the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce (MTIC) and holds responsibility for standardisation, formulation and application of standards, technical regulations, conformity assessment procedures and metrology.


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