Saturday, February 4, 2023

Guyana to keep a diversified portfolio of foreign aid, despite growth in oil revenues – Finance Minister

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Notwithstanding Guyana’s multi-million-dollar earnings from the oil and gas sector, it will maintain a diversified portfolio of low-interest lenders. Senior Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh made this declaration while facilitating a meeting with British officials on the mobilisation of future aid.

Also present at the meeting were Development Director for the UK’s Caribbean, Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (CFCDO), UK Director to the Caribbean Development Bank Malcolm Geere; CFCDO’s Economics Adviser, Liz Brower; and British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller.

Beside its introductory purpose, the meeting served as an opportunity for the British team to discuss how the United Kingdom could increase the mobilisation of development support. Dr. Singh indicated that this remains top of mind for the administration since it intends to prudently manage the nation’s oil dollars.

Dr. Singh said the government plans to use a portion of the oil revenues for critical agriculture, energy infrastructure, and physical infrastructure investments. These include roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals.

He also noted that the government intends to fully capitalise on funding raised from the implementation of its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030. That document outlines how the country will secure payments for the sustainable management of its forests. Just Friday, the government inked a US$750 million carbon credits agreement with Hess Corporation.

Guyana and the UK have been collaborating on development projects for decades. Most recently, the UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund recently provided a US$66 million grant toward the US$190 million Linden to Mabura road project. The two-lane highway between Linden and Mabura Hill forms part of the arterial link between Linden and the Lethem Highway and links Georgetown to Brazil and the rest of South America.

Additionally, with support from UK Export Finance (UKEF), Guyana is constructing a £149 million Paediatric and Maternal Hospital. The country hopes to tap more UK funding to support its development agenda over the next five years.

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