Category: Press Releases

02 Jun
By: ict 0

Ministers Jordan, Trotman and Broomes meet miners

Ministry of Finance
Press Release

Ministers engage mining association, allays fears of over taxation and imminent collapse of industry

The Minister of Finance Hon. Winston Jordan and the Minister of Natural Resources Hon. Raphael Trotman along with Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Hon. Simona Broomes, on Monday, met with representatives of the Guyana Women Miners Association (GWMA), the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and, a number of small miners at the Ministry of Finance to discuss the 2017 budgetary measures regarding the mining sector and general issues affecting the miners.

The Ministers were accompanied by Newell Dennison of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority, Godfrey Statia, among other senior officials.

The stakeholders of the industry were keen to discuss the tax measures announced in the recent Budget presentation, which they perceived as ‘over-taxation of the industry’ and their fears that those measures may have a deleterious effect on the industry.

Minister Jordan reiterated Government’s unwavering support for the sector and appreciation of the invaluable contribution of every miner to Guyana’s economy. In doing so, he clarified that the change in the With-holding Tax announced in Budget 2017 is not an additional tax as perceived by the miners, and that, existing concessions are available to all miners once they are tax compliant.

He reminded them too, that the only criterion used by the GRA for the issuance of concessions is compliance.

He added that the Ministries of Finance and Natural Resources and the Guyana Revenue Authority stood ready to provide any assistance that the miners may need to help them improve their knowledge of the taxation system and their accessibility to its benefits.

Further, the following measures were agreed on to improve the relationship among the entities and stakeholders involved:

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) will shortly begin a series of awareness programmes which will specifically target the members of the industry.

The GGDMA and GWMA will collaborate to provide GRA with the Tax Payer Identification Number (TIN) of all miners under their purview. Miners who are found to be compliant will be able to access concessions, while those who are non- compliant will be allowed to enter into an arrangement with the GRA to have their outstanding tax matters settled.

Miners who do not have a TIN will be allowed to file their tax returns using a temporary TIN. A notice will be placed at entry of the GRA stating that “Miners submitting their tax returns will not be refused if they do not have a TIN.’
A help desk will be set up at the Ministry of Natural Resources.
A list of all the roads that are earmarked for repairs within the mining communities is to be made available to the miners who will then suggest others that can be included.
Small Miners were urged to band together so that they can benefit from concessions granted under Investment Development Agreements (IDAs).

The Ministers and the stakeholders pledged continuous consultations and committed to greater collaboration to resolving the challenges encountered by the sector.

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02 Jun
By: ict 0

Guyana to receive £ 53.2 million in grant resources from the UK

Ministry of Finance
Press Release

Guyana to receive £ 53.2 million in grant resources from the UK; waterfront development, water supply improvement and solid waste management among 6 major infrastructure programmes identified

Guyana is set to benefit from £ 53.2 million in grant resources from the United Kingdom under its newly established United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF) as the Government continues to deliver on its Budget 2016 interventions.

Minister of Finance Hon. Winston Jordan along with Minister of Public Infrastructure Hon. David Patterson and Minister of Communities Hon. Ronald Bulkan last week met with British High Commissioner Greg Quinn and representatives of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Department for International Fund (DFID) to discuss Guyana’s proposed infrastructural projects that are to be funded by UKCIF.

UKCIF is an ambitious investment undertaken by the United Kingdom which will provide grant funding to improve or create new infrastructures such as roads, bridges and ports to help drive economic growth and development in nine countries across the Caribbean region.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced the launch of the £300M Fund during his trip to Jamaica in 2015.

As a result, the Government of Guyana has identified and submitted project proposals for six (6) major infrastructure development programmes.

The identified interventions will see improved road networks, bridges, stellings and waterfronts, rehabilitation of airstrips, reliable access to potable water and reduced energy costs as well as tackle the environmental and health risks associated with the improper disposal of waste.

The CDB has been designated by the UK government to design, develop and implement the programme in collaboration with the government of Guyana. A team from the CDB is expected to visit Guyana shortly to discuss the start of project preparation activities with the relevant sectoral agencies.

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02 Jun
By: ict 0

Minister of Finance, Hon. Winston Jordan addressing participants of the Mini (IPDET)

Remarks by the Hon. Winston Jordan, Minister of Finance at the Monitoring & Evaluation Training Workshop
13 April, 2016, Arthur Chung Convention Centre

Members of the Head Table (Dr Rist, Dr Imas, DOB), Participants, Members of the Media (TBC)

Good morning and Welcome:

I am pleased to be delivering remarks at this Monitoring & Evaluation Training Workshop. As I recently highlighted, in the 2015 Budget Speech to the National Assembly, and, as previously stated by His Excellency President Granger, under this Government, emphasis will be placed on building a robust public sector that places a premium on transparency and reporting for greater accountability and good governance.

While monitoring and evaluation is a relatively new management tool to Guyana, it has been recognised across the globe, in both developed and developing countries, as one of the most essential elements in ensuring effective public financial management. As a country with limited financial resources, the need to ensure value for money, through targeted and effective programming, become paramount. It is the commitment of our Administration to ensure that M&E is institutionalised across the central government. Throughout my own career, spanning over 30 years in public finance and related areas, I have always been and will continue to support all tools that allow for more effective public finance management.

I understand that this is the 18th and 19th cohorts of public servants being trained in key concepts in M&E. I know that changing what is known as “the public service culture” will take time. However, those who know me know how impatient I am with getting results.  Therefore, I expect that at least in the pilot agencies – Health and Education – (which together account for nearly one-third of the 2016 Budget), as well as the other agencies that have already been exposed, I will be looking for sector-wide adoption of the tools acquired.  I intend to not only champion the utility of M&E under this Administration, but also to advance this line with my Cabinet colleagues and all Ministers. For you, and the almost 900 public servants before you, I urge that a special session be arranged and devoted to showcasing the changes you have been able to make in the institutions and programmes that you represent, as a result of exposure to this training.

This Administration has pledged greater accountability and transparency to the people of this country, and we intend to ensure that we deliver on these promises.  The population deserves no less. People must enjoy well delivered services for the taxes that they pay and it is our job as public servants to ensure we serve creditably and effectively. There may be missteps along the way, but it should never be in doubt that we intend to uphold the highest tenets of good governance and open government.

As Minister of Finance, in my 2015 Budget, I addressed issues of strengthened public administration, in which I emphasised the need for faster, smarter and more effective systems. To make this a reality, it will depend on you to change the way you work and deliver services to the public. For example, I have already tasked one of the key institutions under my remit, the Guyana Revenue Authority, to become less desk-bound in their approach to tax collection and to go out and collect the taxes from those noncompliant individuals and companies, in order to effectively discharge their responsibility as a Revenue Authority.

As a Government, we intend to be evidence-driven in our decision-making and policy development, strategic in our thinking and planning and, importantly, data-driven in our actions. In respect to the latter, we have taken immediate action already to ensure that the Bureau of Statistics can execute one of its mandates of making reliable data available to the population to drive informed policy development and decision-making. The words “I think” and “I feel” have no place in guiding policy implementation! We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect a different result; implementing programmes without data and evidence is simply shooting in the dark. In other words, wasting resources. We need to stop guessing and become analytical as officers responsible for delivering services to the public; we need to be informed about our target group and design policies and programmes to address the needs of the public in practical and effective ways.  When you provide advice to your seniors and supervisors and policy makers, it must be data-driven.

Monitoring and Evaluation must be viewed within the wider context of results-based management and within the national context, good governance and accountability will guide the outputs and outcomes of Budget Agencies. The FMAA of 2003 speaks of the Programme Performance Statements being submitted by the Budget Agencies. If you are part of Government, then please ensure that you read and internalise at least this section of the Act.  I am aware that many of you join the public service and never make an effort to become familiar with the FMAA. This has to change.

Going forward, the Ministry of Finance will be looking to expand its actions in the area of M&E and these will include:

  • Finalising and disseminating the national policies to guide the conduct of monitoring and evaluation across central government thereby ensuring standardisation in the conduct of M&E functions;
  • Developing a clear strategy for communicating and raising awareness of M&E throughout central government; with appropriate advocacy tools to support this activity with the aim of increasing the demand and utility of M&E;
  • Finalising the costing of the National Strategy and Action Plan and costing the Medium-Term training plan.
  • Galvanising the M&E Oversight and Steering Committees to ensure increased championship and strategic direction for the roll-out of the initiative to other central government agencies;
  • Adequately staffing the core M&E unit at MOF and the focal points at the sector ministries to ensure effective implementation and roll-out of the plan; and
  • Expanding training in M&E beyond the basic level to intermediate and advanced levels.

In short, firmly institutionalising the culture of M&E across all Government funded programmes and projects.

I am advised that Dr. Rist is an international authority on M&E. I have perused some of his writings in this area and you should do so as well. I can assure you that you are being trained by one of the best in the world. I am also particularly pleased to see that we have adopted a curriculum that is delivered at the Carleton University, in Ottawa, so that the content you receive, titled Mini-IPDET, is internationally recognised.

I want to thank Dr Rist and the IDB for partnering with us to support this capacity building effort. This training is a part of the larger goal to have a cadre of officers in central government that are competent in the field of M&E, so as to increase the national capacity for the conduct of monitoring and evaluation functions across our country. We have to have smarter, faster and more effective systems and your change of behaviour, using the tools you acquire here over the next 5 days, is one way of ensuring that this becomes a reality.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you all a very productive training session. Please note that the success will be judged by both the outputs – number of successful participants – and immediate outcomes – an improvement in the delivery of services to the public within the areas of your responsibility. Together let us be the change we wish to see!

I thank you.

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02 Jun
By: ict 0

GRA’s GRA uncovers racket at its Timehri operations

Georgetown, Tuesday, March 22, 2016: The Guyana Revenue Authority has uncovered a revenue leakage racket at its branch at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Timehri involving several customs officers who are being investigated for their role in a scheme to defraud the Authority of millions of state revenues.

Investigations into the scheme are ongoing since the matter appears to date back several years and is linked to a select group of importers who appeared to have been allowed to clear goods without paying the correct or prescribed amount of duties.

This discovery is part of Management’s efforts to break the back of corruption that has plagued Guyana and to ensure that the prescribed government revenues are collected.  As a consequence, management is taking a serious view of the matter and intends to pursue serious disciplinary action against those involved in the racket.  When asked, the Chairman of the GRA said the matter should be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.

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02 Jun
By: ict 0

Guyana benefits from US$50M loan from India

Commuters traversing the East Coast/East Bank corridor will soon experience less congestion on the roadways, avoid traffic jams and see their travel time significantly reduced.

Minister of Finance, Hon. Winston Jordan today inked a loan of US$50 million with Export-Import Bank of India for the construction of a 20km bypass road from Ogle, on the East Coast Demerara to Great Diamond, on the East Bank Demerara.

Signing on behalf of the Export-Import Bank of India was its Resident Representative to the USA, T. D. Sivakumar.

The construction of the bypass road comes at an opportune time when the Government is seeking to advance Guyana’s developmental efforts for the infrastructural transformation of its economy as well as improve transportation linkages across the country.

The Minister of Finance, in his Budget 2016 Presentation, had noted the frustration of road users due to the lack of an adequate road network system to meet the tremendous growth in vehicular traffic.

The bypass is a small step in the comprehensive expansion of the country’s road network system designed to reduce congestion and improve travel times on roadways. It will also provide a direct link between communities on the East Bank and the East Coast of Demerara, and improve connectivity to Ogle International Airport.

Presently, there is only one major thoroughfare that connects the East Bank Demerara to Georgetown and, during peak periods, massive traffic congestion is experienced by commuters on the East Bank Demerara road, which results in significant loss of productivity.

The new roadway will serve as a corridor for communities on the East Bank Demerara, including Perseverance, Mocha, Providence, Eccles, Peter’s Hall and Aubrey Barker Road, and provide a bypass around the city which commuters can use to navigate the outer limits of the city, reduce travel time and avoid the traffic jams.

The new road link will also result in approximately 1,010 acres of unutilised lands becoming available to create a modern housing scheme, which can support some 2,200 households. Consequently, more lands will be made available to meet the increased demands for residential house lots in Region 4.

Additionally, about 120 industrial and commercial plots will be available for economic ventures that can facilitate value-added manufacturing activities and create employment opportunities in the new and existing communities within the region.

This Agreement is another tangible gesture of the cooperation between the Governments of Guyana and India as Guyana continues to benefit significantly from technical assistance, grants and concessional loans among other forms of assistance from India. These have been used to support many interventions in the health, education, infrastructure, transport, agriculture, and sport and culture sectors, among others.

The construction of the East Bank/East Coast Road Linkage Project is geared towards advancing Guyana’s developmental efforts for infrastructural transformation of its economy.

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02 Jun
By: ict 0

Ms Teixeira misrepresented the Finance Minister’s position on the Amaila project

Letter to the Editor (Stabroek News)

Dear Editor,

The Minister of Finance notes with concern an article carried in Monday’s edition of Stabroek News captioned `PPP complains to Norway over `undermining’ of forest partnership,’ which cites a letter from PPP Member of Parliament Gail Teixeira to Per Fredrik Pharo, Director of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative.

According to the article, Ms. Teixeira, in seeking to defend her party’s farming out of Guyana’s forests during its time in Government, resorts to her familiar formula of faulty arguments in a vain attempt to score cheap political points, hoodwink the Government of Norway and the Guyanese public by misrepresenting the statement made by Minister of Finance Hon. Winston Jordan during his presentation of Budget 2015.

She also accused the APNU + AFC Coalition of “continued lies and attacks on the integrity of the Guyana-Norway partnership on climate change and forests.”

In peddling this accusation, the article states, “She pointed to Trotman’s comments as well as statements by Minister of Finance Winston Jordan in his August 2015 Budget Speech when he said it would be a downright criminal act of deception were we to proceed with Amaila Falls.”

Editor, here is the full quote from the speech, “Mr. Speaker, this Government is well aware of the importance of clean, reliable and affordable energy for development and the improved welfare of our people. As such, we are prepared to explore every avenue to reduce the cost of energy – including examining the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Project. The problem, Mr. Speaker, is that as currently configured, it would not only be irresponsible, but a downright criminal act of deception, were we to proceed with the Amaila Falls.”

Ms. Teixeira deliberately omitted the words, “as currently configured.”

The Minister’s words, in their entirety, clearly convey that the design and approach to the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project as conceptualized by the previous government have far reaching financial implications that would have to be borne by the nation. These very implications have been ventilated by many analysts, some in this very newspaper!

Further, in disputing the Minister’s statements that the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project would cost the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) US$2.6B over 20 years, Ms. Teixeira asserts that it will in fact save GPL US$2B over the same period without mentioning the basis for this claim that holds little water (no pun intended) especially given the current environment of depressed fuel prices globally.

During that same presentation, the Minister of Finance made it clear that the identification of Amaila Falls as a potential site for hydropower dates back some 40 years, and that the Government welcomes the diversification of our energy matrix to include clean, sustainable and affordable sources but that it must make financial sense!

He also said, “We know now, that as configured currently, the cost of financing Amaila is too high, and that unless the price tag can be substantially lowered, we cannot proceed. In this opinion, we are strongly supported by the experts at the Inter-American Development Bank, who had considered the project to be too risky to attract the Bank’s financing.”

This position of the government was reiterated in its communication to the Kingdom of Norway in December 2015, during the COP21 Meeting in Paris, and more recently, during the Minister’s rebuttal to wind up the debate on Budget 2016.

Further, this position has been buttressed by interactions and meetings between the Minister of Finance and Mr. Gerard Johnson, General Manager of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); between the Minister of Finance and the President of the IDB (during a meeting in Washington for the re-election of the President of the IDB); between President Granger and the President of the IDB (during side meetings at the UN General Assembly in 2015) and during the meeting among the Minister of Finance, the IDB and the representatives of the Kingdom of Norway, in Paris, in December 2015.

In fact, arising from the discussions of the last meeting in Paris, it was agreed that Norway would engage an international consultant for a final review of the Amaila Falls Project.

To date, Norway has proposed a nominee to undertake the review, but the Government of Guyana has requested the submission of three reputable, independent, international consulting firms from which one would be selected by the Government of Guyana to conduct the review.

Ms. Teixeira’s letter while riddled with inaccuracies and omissions is a clear attempt to diminish Guyana’s relationship with Norway and halt the funding received under the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) and other investments.

In saying that, “The PPP will have no choice but to support Norway putting on hold projects and funds…,” Ms. Teixeira is trying to sabotage the economy now recovering from the machinations and contretemps of her party in the Pre and Post Elections period. Neither she nor her party will succeed in this latest puerile attempt at interrupting the growth trajectory that we have set for the economy.

The APNU+AFC Government continues to value the relationship with the Government and the Kingdom of Norway, and is committed to pursuing a Sustainable and Green development path to the Good Life for All Guyanese.

Yours faithfully,

Wanita Huburn
Ministry of Finance

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