Category: Press Releases

22 Jul
By: Tanika Jones 0

Ministry of Finance Responds to New York Times Article

Dear Editor,

We note with disappointment the article in the New York Times by Clifford Krauss entitled “The $20 Billion Question.” We do not wish to address the laughably simplistic and selective description of our country as a land where children go to school in canoes, the lack of historical context and the author’s deficit of understanding and sensitivity towards Guyana; nor his blanket claim that “the civil service is corrupt,” which is an insult to the majority of hardworking and honest public servants.

We refer instead to his assertion that “foreign bank developers have told the government that legislation to create a sovereign wealth fund…lacks sufficient regulatory controls to avert corruption” and that “The legislation is in limbo.”
This is not the case.

The Ministry of Finance and the government are fully aware of the dangers surrounding resource-rich countries. We have extensively researched the issues of the pre-source curse – where unrealistic expectations ahead of oil production result in demands for higher wages and government spending – and the other two pitfalls – the resource curse and Dutch Disease.
That is why in crafting the National Resource Fund Act (NRFA) we have asked for advice from several international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The proposed legislation specifically addresses two main issues: the stability of the economy to absorb increased government spending and economic activity; and the balance between spending on critical development projects and the long term goal of saving for future generations. This is laid out in a Green Paper which will be presented to the National Assembly.

The NRFA, which will be laid in Parliament before the end of the year as indicated in Budget 2018, is the culmination of many lessons learnt around the world by resource-rich countries over the past 100 years. Crucially it directly addresses the transparent handling of, and accounting for, the oil-related funds from depositing in the NRF to their spending which can only be done via the Annual Budget approved by the National Assembly. The fund itself is to be managed by the Bank of Guyana and overseen by a committee that encompasses several independent interest groups including a representative nominated by the Leader of the Opposition. Quarterly reports on its activity will be presented to Parliament. We are confident that the NRFA will fully address these legitimate concerns.

The overriding impression of the article is that the government and the country are hapless, and unable to deal with the new oil sector. We acknowledge there are serious human skills deficits, but the government is proceeding carefully and methodically towards First Oil. The National Resource Fund will be in place before 2020.

Despite the article’s narrative of a “Poor man wins the lottery; disaster ensues,” it also draws attention to some of Guyana’s most pressing challenges and raises the question of how we as Guyanese see ourselves and our country. It also calls to mind two quotes by the Nigerian novelist and short story writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; “Show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again and that is what they become” and “The single story creates stereotype and the problem with stereotype is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete, they make one story become the only story.”

It is time that as Guyanese, we reject the single story being told about us, no matter who tells that story. We must look towards the future with hope in our heritage, in the legacies of our ancestors and in the path that is being crafted for us now. I urge Mr Krauss to take a closer look at our country, its proud and resourceful people and our resilience in the face of the odds.

Sincerely,
Wanita Huburn
PRO
Ministry of Finance

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25 Jun
By: Tanika Jones 0

World Bank approves US$35m for oil sector preparations

The World Bank Group today announced approval of a US$35 million Development Policy Credit to support Guyana’s efforts to bolster financial sector development and fiscal management to better prepare the country to tap its newly discovered oil and gas reserves and transform its oil wealth into human capital.

The assistance of the World Bank in this area had been previously announced by the government here. The terms of the credit arrangement were not disclosed in today’s press release from the World Bank Group.

The released quoted Guyana’s Finance Minister Winston Jordan as saying “This financing provides critical support to our reform agenda and efforts to strengthen institutions and build a resilient economy that is capable of withstanding both external and domestic shocks. These reforms will be key to guide the management of oil revenues for the benefit of present and future generations”.

The release said that while currently nearly one in four people in Guyana live in poverty, experts project that the GDP will surge when commercial production of newly-discovered oil and gas begins.

“ Guyana is making important strides to promote financial resilience and improve fiscal management, and has embarked on a broad-based reform programme,” said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank’s Country Director for the Caribbean.

“These reforms will be key to build a strong economy that is underpinned by a strategic management of public resources for the benefit of the Guyanese people.”

The release said that the financing focuses on strengthening financial stability and enabling sound financial development to nurture macroeconomic stability and long-term growth. “In particular, it will support banking reforms and depositor protection, the establishment of a deposit insurance scheme, implementation of a new insurance law, and the country’s anti-money laundering efforts”, the release said.

It added that the Development Policy Credit is the first of two programmatic financial and fiscal development policy credits and is financed from the International Development Association.

 

Source: https://www.stabroeknews.com/2018/news/guyana/06/25/world-bank-approves-us35m-for-oil-sector-preparations/

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30 May
By: Tanika Jones 0

Minister of Finance signs Technical Assistance Grant with CDB; University of Guyana to construct modern library

Minister of Finance, Hon. Winston Jordan, on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 signed a Technical Assistance Grant for the infrastructural enhancement of the University of Guyana’s library. The CDB had previously assisted the institution with a Technical Assistance to examine its governance and other structures.

Other signatories to the agreement were President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Dr. Warren Smith, and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana (UG), Dr. Ivelaw Griffith.

The US$149,985.00 grant was approved by the Board of Directors of the CDB at its Annual meeting held in March this year. It will fund a comprehensive assessment of, and prepare final designs and cost estimates for the construction of a modern, gender-responsive, socially-inclusive and environmentally resilient facility. This grant will also help to   address the adequacy and suitability of the current infrastructure. The new library will be situated on a plot of land west of the current library. The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and UG will contribute approximately US$26,000 towards the full realization of the project.

Over the years, UG has had difficulty accessing funds to maintain the present library, its other buildings or to construct newer buildings to cope with its ballooning student population. Despite this though, UG has made incremental changes to the library including the removal and disposal of asbestos from certain areas of the library in 2009; the construction of a fire escape in 2010; the renovation of the roof of the new wing of the library and grilling of windows in and general reading room in 2012; the rewiring of the library in 2015 and the physical upgrade of the learning resource centre in 2017. However, the library still suffers from infrastructural challenges and weaknesses in staff capacity.

The infrastructural enhancement project which will begin immediately will be implemented by UG through the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Planning and International Engagement. A Project Steering Committee (PSC) will have responsibility for the coordination and overall guidance of the project.

The partnership between Guyana and the CDB most recently resulted in an agreement by the Bank to blend its resources with that of the United Kingdom/Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF) to fund the waterfront renewal in Georgetown; upgrade the first phase of the much anticipated Linden to Lethem Highway; and construct a bridge across the Essequibo River, at Kurupukari.

It has also committed an estimated US$6.145 M to the 9th Cycle of the Basic Needs Trust Fund, which will be expended on projects and activities that contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic growth, reduce poverty in poor and rural communities, improve access to critically-needed services; and enhance the quality of life in the remote and interior areas of Guyana.

The CDB is currently hosting its 48th Board of Governor’s meeting in Grenada. In attendance are Minister Jordan, Dr. Griffith and other senior functionaries of the Ministry of Finance.

To view all the photos from this signing visit our Flickr Gallery or go directly to the album here.

 

 

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30 May
By: Tanika Jones 0

New Russian Ambassador calls on Finance Minister

His Excellency Alexander Kurmaz, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Guyana makes courtesy call on Minister of Finance, Hon. Winston Jordan

The Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Guyana, His Excellency Alexander Kurmaz called on the Minister of Finance, Hon. Winston Jordan earlier this week.

The Ambassador who is new to Guyana assured the Finance Minister of his government’s continued collaboration and support for the development of Guyana. He emphasized that his government is not only interested in strengthened trade relations with Guyana, but,  is willing and ready to provide assistance in key areas such as, aviation, health care, information technology and border security, among others

Ambassador Kurmaz  also noted the similarities between the two countries, particularly in respect to the size of Guyana and the abundance of water and discussed innovative ways through which his country can assist Guyana in the management of its water, using advanced technology.

Minister Jordan in response assured Ambassador Kurmaz of his confidence in the benefits that will accrue to Guyana through the measures discussed and thanked the Ambassador and the government of the Russian Federation for its offer of  assistance to Guyana.

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08 May
By: Tanika Jones 0

Minister of Finance signs 2 year concession renewal with GGDMA and GWMO, ties concessions to output

Georgetown – President of the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO), Urica Primus and President of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), Terrence Adams, today signed a 2 year concession renewal agreement with the Government of Guyana. This agreement boasted many firsts for the relationship between the two private sector bodies:

  1. It was the first time that the GWMO signed the agreement as an individual entity;
  2. For the first time, the agreement has been renewed for a two year period rather than annually, and
  3. The concessions granted are tied to various levels of declarations.

 

Other signatories to the agreement were Hon. Winston Jordan, Minister of Finance; Godfrey Statia, Commissioner General, Revenue Authority (GRA); Newell Dennison, Commissioner General, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission; and Dr. Mahender Sharma, Chief Executive Officer, Guyana Energy Agency. Also present at the signing ceremony was Hon. Raphael Trotman, Minister of Natural Resources.  

Minister Jordan in brief remarks pointed out that, “The agreement is the third that has been signed by Government but that it was more comprehensive and was accomplished through evidence-based negotiations.” He also said that it comes on the heels of other budgetary measures that were put in place as a mark of the Government’s unwavering support for the sector and appreciation for the invaluable contribution that miners make to the country’s economy. He appealed to the miners to always be cognisant of Government’s support and urged that they in turn ensure that declarations are made in the same spirit.

The Mining sector has benefited from significant interventions, since 2015, by way of tax concessions on machinery, equipment, fuel and vehicles for small and medium scale miners; a reduction in the Tributor’s Tax from 20% to 10% and a sliding scale percentage based on the price of gold, which replaced the 2% of gross proceeds. Additionally, more than $1 billion was allocated in the 2018 Budget for the upgrade of key roadways in the Hinterland, so as to provide easier travel and transportation access for miners and loggers, in particular, within hinterland communities.

The Ministry of Finance, in further efforts to provide support for the sector, has facilitated several consultations and collaborations between Government and stakeholders. These have resulted in a more timely resolution to challenges within the sector.

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28 Apr
By: Tanika Jones 0

Bank of Guyana Assures that the Financial System Remains Strong, Stable and Profitable

The Bank of Guyana, including the Board of Directors, wishes to caution overzealous finance commentators against making uninformed statements about the banking system and the mandate of the Bank of Guyana. The financial system is too sensitive for reckless and irresponsible statements on the economy.

The most recent opinion contained in “State of central government deposits at the Bank of Guyana” by Sasenarine Singh of Sundari Solutions offers a view that the Bank of Guyana’s balance sheet ‘has been losing value for a while…’.

This statement is not true. The Bank’s assets have been increasing over the recent past. The audited financial statements of the Bank indicate that the assets of the Bank have increased from $189 billion at the end of 2015, to $220 billion at the end of 2016. The estimates for year 2017 show the assets increased to $224 billion.

Further, the Bank wishes to make it clear that the assets are adequate to absorb shock to the financial system and is collaborating with the Ministry of Finance to retire the debt.

The Bank wishes also to reiterate that the financial system, including the commercial banks and the Bank of Guyana remains sound and stable. The system is fully capitalized, liquid and profitable.

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