Category: Press Releases

08 Sep
By: Tanika Jones 0

Guyana is approved for first loan from the IsDB, GPL’s Upgrade programme gets USS$20m for more reliable power supply

Georgetown, September 8, 2018

Government’s efforts to provide citizens with a more sustainable and stable supply of electricity are rewarded as Guyana has received approval from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) for a loan of US$20m for the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Utility Upgrade Programme to effect a comprehensive turnaround of its electricity distribution.

This loan is the first sum to be disbursed from the resource envelope of US$900m that was extended to Guyana by the IsDB in 2017. Guyana has already benefitted from two grants from the Bank totalling more than US$500,000.00.

The Guyana Power and Light has long been challenged by its inability to provide a reliable supply of electricity and suffers high levels of losses. This has been compounded by a rapid increase in demand for energy by residential and commercial users. The GPL Utility Upgrade Programme is co-financed by the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Union, and upon completion will reduce losses, realise a more efficient and reliable service and deliver a better quality of electricity for households and commercial users.

The Utility Upgrade Programme is part of GPL’s Development and Expansion for the period 2014 to 2021 which aims to reduce the overall losses in the power system. The loan will facilitate:

  1. The rehabilitation of 153 km of GPL’s medium voltage and low voltage network and 6, 941 smart meters, including the associated transformers, service lines and distribution boxes.
  2. The rehabilitation and extension of two 69/13.8KV substations at Kingston and Vreed-en-hoop including equipment switchgear, power transformers, rerouting of circuits distribution feeders and cable connections.

It will also finance consultancy services for the preparation of designs and specifications for the sub-stations and the site supervision for the works related to the Kingston and Vreed-en-hoop substations, as well as support the existing project management unit by financing additional specialised engineers and technicians to reinforce the existing team. GPL is the Executing Agency for the project and will operate under the aegis of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.

Minister of Finance, Hon. Winston Jordan will sign the Agreement with the IsDB on September 19, 2018 in Saudi Arabia. Since becoming a member of the Bank, Government has been aggressively pursuing projects that will increase Guyana’s infrastructure and optimise its productivity in the areas of agriculture, trade and competitiveness and human and rural development having committed to the diversification of Guyana’s economy in preparation for first oil in 2020.

Guyana became a member of the IsDB in 2017; the partnership was formalised with a mutual commitment to a five year work programme.

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30 Aug
By: Tanika Jones 0

GMSA engages GRA on VAT and other key issues affecting manufacturers

A team from the Guyana Manufacturing and Service Association (GMSA) led by it’s President Shyam Nokta and including Board Member Ramesh Dookhoo and Chair of the Forestry and Wood Processing Sub-Sector Rafeek Khan met with Commissioner General Godfrey Statia and his GRA team on Thursday, August 16 to discuss several key issues affecting the manufacturing sector.

The meeting was convened as a follow up to the GMSA registering concerns to Minister of Finance Winston Jordan in June 2018 regarding the impact of the Amendment to the VAT Act in January 2018 on some sections of the manufacturing sector whereby resulting therefrom, certain businesses involved in exports were unable to reclaim the Value-Added Tax paid on inputs on the goods exported. The GMSA contended that the amendment, contrary to what the Minister had intended and as stated in his budget speech, affected major sectors of the economy, foremost being the forestry and wood processing sector. The GMSA further contented that the VAT on such inputs serves as a dis-incentive to producers who primarily manufacture for export and comes at a time when the forestry and wood processing sector is facing several challenges including the deplorable state of interior roads and when there is strong push for more value adding to target external markets.

The Commissioner General indicated that in keeping with the Minister’s pledge of no new taxes and the fact that the Amendment was intended to improve Administrative efficiency of VAT administration that GRA is exploring ways to address the issue. He also requested that the GMSA explore other avenues and make suggestions with financial analyses rather than making broad statements since the GRA’s analysis using return submissions have revealed a negligent impact on the industry.

Notwithstanding the Commissioner General’s position, the GMSA stands by its position regarding the adverse impact on key economic sectors. The GMSA also took the opportunity to raise other issues pertaining to tax administration including the implementation of the new scanner system and processing times, and put forward for consideration a request for incentives for manufacturers in relation to energy and renewable energy technologies. A list of procedural issues relative to facilitating the smooth flow of businesses was also given to the Commissioner for his attention in the near future.

Also raised was the issue of addressing Excise Duty on Indigenous Wines in keeping with the Government stated policy of incentivizing local manufacturing. The issue of Excise taxes on Shandy was also discussed whereby the current structure is not in line with other Caribbean territories and has therefore disadvantaged Guyana’s producers.

The GMSA remains encouraged by the Commissioner General’s willingness to engage and that the GRA will give active consideration to the issues raised and make recommendations to the Minister of Finance on the way forward.

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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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