CDB approves US$190 M Linden to Mabura Road project- US $11.6M Hospitality and Tourism Training Project also approved

Georgetown, Ministry of Finance, December 11, 2020:

Following fruitful negotiations with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Government yesterday secured two loans to finance substantial catalytic transformational projects for the country-namely the construction of 121 kilometres of road between Linden and Mabura in Region Ten as well as a Hospitality and Tourism Training Institute to facilitate training of persons to equip them with the necessary skills and qualifications to supply some of the demand required in the country’s Tourism and Hospitality sector.

The US$ 190 M Linden to Mabura Road project comprises a US$112-million loan from the CDB, a grant of £50 million (US$66 million) from the Government of the United Kingdom via the CDB- administered United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund, along with US$12 million provided by Government. It is also the largest single project ever financed by the CDB and marks its largest geographic ‘footprint’.

In an invited comment, the Senior Finance Minister expressed gratitude to the CDB as well as the UK Government, especially acknowledging the importance of the UK Government’s grant and the country’s support of Guyana’s development. With Guyana increasingly becoming a hub for international visitors in light of the country’s new status of being a major oil producer and exporter, the Irfaan Ali administration has been placing focus on other productive sectors to ensure they receive the necessary financial support to be able to build capacity in order to accommodate the large influx of visitors and foreign investors. Against this backdrop, assistance in the Tourism and Hospitality sector became critical, thus the focus on construction of the US $11.6 M Hospitality and Tourism Training Institute to allow for international training.

The Institute is slated to be constructed at Providence behind the Guyana National Stadium. Meanwhile, the Linden to Mabura Road forms part of the wider development of the Georgetown to Lethem corridor and is estimated to provide direct employment in both the short and long term as well as advance sustainable livelihoods of small and medium enterprises operating at critical communal points in the project area including the Great Falls Indigenous Village and the Mabura Hill community. It should also improve connectivity and contribute to enhanced trade as well as ground transportation between Guyana and Brazil. The road is expected to be upgraded from a fair-weather road to an all-weather asphalt concrete one and would include new drainage infrastructure with enhanced capacity to mitigate the effects of flooding. Both projects had been conceptualized under the PPP/C Government prior to 2015 and had been in the pipeline since.

New Finance Minister assures: Notwithstanding inherited gloomy state, Guyana will see a turnaround – ‘PPP/C has a track record of sound economic management’

Georgetown, Ministry of Finance, December 4, 2020:

Reflecting on the terrible state of the country’s economy in 1992 when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration entered office and its track record of sound and responsible economic management, Senior Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh has assured that his Government will once again do a repeat of the same this time around.

In some sense, I feel as though we are almost in deja vu …because those of us who are old enough would recall we also inherited a country in which the economy was in disarray with unsustainable levels of debt which then had to be restructured and the public finances had to be literally rebuilt from scratch.

He expressed the belief that it is beyond dispute that the PPP/C has a well-established track record for sound and responsible economic management and for policies that create an environment that is conducive and attractive to investment. The Senior Finance Minister noted that one simply has to look at what was achieved during the period 1992-2015 to remember when the country was returned from the brink of bankruptcy to a state where it was clearly on a path to prosperity. This assurance was given even as Guyana has only completed its fourth month of stewardship by the current administration after a previous five month hiatus of gloom when its citizens experienced a ‘nightmare’ election saga as well as continuous abuse of the Court system during which time its economy continued to spiral downward as there was less and less investor confidence and the political environment was extremely unstable.

Notwithstanding the gloomy state of affairs that has been inherited, we have set about in earnest immediately, to turn the situation around on a number of fronts: First of all, a non- negotiable pre requisite for an attractive investment environment is democracy and respect for the rule of Law. No international investor will come to a country that does not respect democracy, Minister Singh emphasized.

He recalled that ‘the world watched on in disbelief at the events of March-August and the world expressed collectively a sigh of relief when on August 2 President Irfaan Ali was finally sworn in as President-an event that really should have happened two or three days after March 2’.