Category: Speeches

12 Jun
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Remarks by Hon. Winston Jordan, at the Opening Session of the National Workshop on Sustainable Funding Strategy

Mr. Jaime Coronado Quintanilla, Coordinator of CEMLA’S Public Debt Management Capacity Building Programme (PDP), Mr. Juan Carlos Villanova and other PDP experts, Dr. Terrence Smith, Deputy Governor, Bank of Guyana, Other Senior Government Officials, and Participants:

Welcome to the opening of this, our second National Sustainable Funding Strategy Workshop, which is jointly organised with our long-standing development partner – the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies (CEMLA). Our sincere gratitude is extended to CEMLA for their unceasing support over the years.

Let me take this opportunity to thank Mr. Jaime Coronado for his exemplary work, leadership and guidance under the Public Debt Management Capacity Building Programme (PDP) Strategic Country Plan for Guyana, which concludes this year. Under this Programme, Guyana has made notable progress in the area of debt management. Among the notable achievements to date have been: 1) the formulation of a National Sustainable Funding Strategy in 2015, inclusive of a Debt Sustainability Analysis and Public Debt Strategy; 2) a comprehensive Public Debt Management Procedures Manual which has improved and ensured consistent debt management operations whilst reducing operational risk; and 3) the first National Workshop on Debt Management Self-Evaluation and Improvement (DMSAI) in 2016, using the World Bank Debt Management Performance Assessment (DeMPA) Methodology to assess our debt management operations, and chart a course for improvement and achievement of international best practices.

These achievements are tangible indications of our Government’s redoubled efforts to ‘raise the bar’ in the management of public finances, including the public debt, in order to heighten transparency and accountability, value for money and efficient and effective allocation of our resources.

Guyana is well acquainted with the harsh consequences of an onerous debt burden; the painful process of structural adjustment; and the acrid outcomes of weak and impudent management of the public purse by previous administrations. And, in spite of many unhelpful comments and misguided actions, since the presentation of the last budget, our Government remains firm in its stance to do all that is required to prevent the recurrence of such situations. Some of our policy measures may be bold in their intent, leading to unpopular reactions.  However, while governments are often swept into power on a wave of popularity, they are similarly swept out ignominiously when they succumb to demands, especially by special interest groups, to implement policy measures that have short term gain for these groups, but long term pain for the mass of the population. History is a great teacher, for which we should learn its copious lessons.

Madame Chairperson, our Government has managed to reduce the debt further to 46 percent of GDP at the end of 2016, relative to 2015. But we cannot become complacent; neither do we have the luxury of sitting on our laurels for the lower debt ratio was achieved at the expense of the unsatisfactory implementation of the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP), where we failed to achieve an exemplary disbursement rate of our foreign funded projects. This led to the unacceptable situation of negative net inflows by our major donor, at a time when foreign exchange supply was challenged because of under-performance in critical sectors and areas of the economy.

We also have to be cognizant of the impact on the public debt, of the many loans contracted by the previous administration, several of which (for example, CJIA Modernisation Loan of US$135 million and East Coast Road Widening, US$50 million from China Exim Bank), remained largely undisbursed at the time this Government came to Office; and the ill-advised and/or poorly conceived projects (Skeldon Sugar Factory, Marriott Hotel, Widening of Sheriff Street) and investments (NIS investment in CLICO and Berbice Bridge) embarked upon by the previous administration, which do not contribute to the Treasury, but the repayment of whose debts, nevertheless, are being met by the Government and, by implication, the citizens of this country – at least those who pay taxes. With an outer debt ceiling limit of 60 percent of GDP, these loans have restricted the fiscal space and reduced our room for maneuver, at a time when we are seeking to implement a new generation of transformative projects such as the Demerara Harbour Bridge and the Georgetown-Lethem Road.

Madame Chairperson, undoubtedly, the hard work must continue to ensure that debt levels remain sustainable, within prescribed parameters. Even with past fiscal consolidation and oil revenues on the horizon, we must be cognizant of the new challenges that confront us such as dwindling sources of concessional financing and vulnerability to external shocks.

Madame Chairperson, over the last two years, we have sought to widen the range of multilateral partners, from which we can access concessional or near concessional resources, given our new status of upper middle income country. In this respect, we have joined the Islamic Development Bank and we are renewing our relationship with the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID). Next month, I will journey to the Fund’s Headquarters to sign an Investment Protection Treaty, among other activities. This would pave the way for lending to the private sector. We are also having preliminary discussions with the New Development Bank, also known as BRICS Bank, with a view of accession, whenever that Bank makes the decision to expand membership beyond the five original members. The BRICS Bank is an important repository of resources for infrastructural development and we would like to tap those resources to help to narrow infrastructural deficit in Guyana.

Madame Chairperson, we are on record as being uneasy about borrowing against future oil revenues. While tempting, as it would provide important resources to finance many critical pipeline projects, we have to be wary of the volatility of the oil market and our capacity to utilize such resources in a transparent and accountable manner. We will continue to assess the situation and weigh carefully our options before any decision, in this regard, is made.

With these challenges, this Workshop is opportune as we assess our economy in the context of its debt sustainability, and craft strategies that strike a prudent balance of cost and risk.

It is also critical that adequate attention be paid to the internal debt as we seek to mobilise domestic resources, both as a means of reducing Guyana’s exposure to external risk factors and to support our development goals. As I speak, a team of experts from another development partner, Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC), is in Guyana, on a mission to aid the government in developing its domestic bond market. In the context of debt sustainability, this gives the government more flexibility to respond to external shocks, while reducing our reliance on external borrowing.

As part of this exercise, we should also seek to improve our rating on the DeMPA scorecard, in particular, on Debt Performance Indicators (DPI) 3 and 6, where Guyana has obtained relatively low scores. These Indicators cover the establishment of a formalised Debt Management Strategy and Coordination with Fiscal Policy. This Workshop should be seen, therefore, as the first step in crafting a formalised Debt Strategy, so as to secure improved DeMPA scores.

Additionally, this Workshop is an opportunity to reinforce the technical capacity of government officials in areas related to sustainable funding strategy. Out of this exercise, I intend to have a permanent team in government established that will be able to revise the national strategy, periodically. It is my steadfast belief that we should have the capacity to conduct these assessments, annually, so as to maximise ownership of the strategies, track progress made, monitor macroeconomic stability, and foster sustainable growth. This will go a long way towards achieving and sustaining a ‘good life’ for all.

With this in mind, I again want to thank Mr. Coronado and CEMLA for partnering with us to support this activity, and I would like to charge each participant with the responsibility of giving his/her best to this exercise. Your task is important to the successful emergence of a sound strategy for debt management and debt sustainability in Guyana.

I would like to close by wishing the participants fruitful discussions and a very productive training workshop. I look forward to receiving the report on the exercise as well as recommendations for the improvement of debt management in Guyana.

It is now my distinct pleasure to declare this National Workshop on Sustainable Funding Strategy officially open.

Thank You!

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02 Jun
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Remarks of the Hon. Winston Jordan, Minister of Finance, during the launch of the 2016 Human Development Report

Honourable Ministers of Government, Resident Representative (acting) of the United Nations Development Programme, Ms. Shabnam Mallick, Members of Parliament, Representatives of the United Nations System in Guyana, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, University of Guyana’s academia, civil society and non-governmental organizations, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen.

I am delighted to join you at this public launch of the 2016 Human Development Report on these hallowed grounds of the University of Guyana, Turkeyen campus. It was only recently, October 2016 to be exact, that I gave brief remarks on this very campus on the occasion of the launch of the 2015 Caribbean Human Development Report. I believe that the choice of this venue, yet again, is not coincidental; indeed, it exemplifies a degree of consciousness of the strategic importance and role that the university must play in promoting and sustaining human development.

As we have been reminded, today, this Report was officially launched on March 21, 2017, in Stockholm, Sweden, by Ms. Helen Clark, UNDP’s Administrator. Over the past 25 years, the global arena has witnessed several paradigm shifts in relation to how it views Human Development Reports. I consider it opportune to pause and examine both global and national accomplishments as well as challenges within the context of the theme. This year’s people-centred theme, Human Development for Everyone, reflects the new focus on all inclusive human development, which is expected to place greater emphasis on employment, redistribution of growth and the basic needs of people. This theme resonates with our Government’s priority to achieve a Good Life for All Guyanese – a goal that champions inclusivity and has guided our Administration’s budget preparations and presentations since 2015. I am happy that Mr. Jahan is also a supporter of this view in this 25th edition of the Human Development Report.

Data

The historical series of the human development index, which supports this report, shows that Guyana has made progress since 1990, improving by 17.9 percentage points, consequent upon improvements in life expectancy, mean years of schooling, expected years of schooling and improved Gross National Income (GNI).  In the 2015 Human Development Index, our rank of 0.638 is slightly above the average for all countries of 0.631. Nevertheless, one hundred and twenty-six countries (126) were ranked higher than Guyana while sixty-one (61) fared worse. Thus, while we are trending in the right direction, it is nothing to either shout or write home about. Rather, it is a clarion reminder that we must work harder and smarter to conquer the scourge of poverty. Poverty, wherever it exists, is a stumbling block to progress everywhere in our country. As we strive, collectively, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and our own national goals, we must consciously and deliberately allocate resources towards results.

Importantly, we need to measure whether or not we are achieving those intended results, based on evidence; and that evidence must be supported by robust data and the analytical findings that data rich systems provide.  It is only along this path can informed policy formulation and decision making take place. The challenge for us – as the Government, as Parliamentarians, as members of the diplomatic community, and as development partners and leaders – is to step up the quality and frequency of the engagement, both nationally and globally.  Only sustainable interventions will remove individuals and, by design, communities and nations from poverty.

Addressing the Definitional Dichotomy

This 2016 Report examines key issues that compromise the achievement of universalism within the existing development paradigm. However, Chapter 5: Transforming Global Institutions does not adequately address the definitional dichotomy that pervades the global community with respect to measuring development. I wish to posit, most ardently, that as much as we recognise the multi-dimensional nature of human development and the all-encompassing character of universalism, it is incumbent on all of us to articulate and advocate with equal fervour, the need to be consistent in defining how we measure development in individual countries. Defining a country’s development level must NOT be solely driven by a one-dimensional formula, that is, the total money earned by the country divided by the total number of persons living in the country.  Economists and development planners have long recognised the archaic and distortive effects of this restricted measure of a country’s development.  However, one would have hoped that by now, the championing by the development family, both partners and countries alike, would have resulted in the acceptance of a multi-dimensional measure to be used by financial and global institutions.

Let me pose the following questions: Should a middle income country, like Guyana, based purely on per capita income and ranked 127 on the 2016 HDI, be considered ineligible for development partner support? Should Guyana be denied continued access to concessional resources because its per capita income has increased, even though significant geographical and other inequalities exist, even as the Government continues to grapple with, for example, an education system that leaves 87 percent of our 11 year olds unable to accomplish the most basic of numeracy skills while another 75 percent is unable to comprehend their own language?  The answer to whether a single dimension indicator should be used is obviously a resounding NO, and we will continue the struggle with like-minded partners to fashion a more-appropriate, all-embracing, universally-accepted measure.

What has this Govt done?

This Administration has from the inception recognised the need to approach national development challenges in a holistic manner.  We have increased allocations to the social sector, particularly health and education. We have undertaken a sweeping tax reform programme; increased real wages, including raising incomes by 38 percent, adjusting the income tax threshold by a minimum 20 percent, increased old age pensions and social assistance. We are passionate in our resolve to bridge the development divide between the coast and the hinterland regions. In that regard, we have begun to improve our road and bridge networks, and our port infrastructure, among other infrastructural developments. We have expanded the role of E-Government, to ensure greater and affordable access to all. Further, and importantly, we have emphasised the development of sectoral strategic plans, monitoring and evaluation frameworks, data development plans, and procurement planning, so as to ensure greater effectiveness in government expenditure allocations for the country.

In the area of governance, we have had local government elections for the first time in over 20 years. This was driven by our desire to empower sub-national governance structures and strengthen community involvement in national decision making. These are seen as critical steps to building a more inclusive and cohesive society.

Today, we continue work on the framework document for a Green State Development Strategy (GSDS), which will ultimately capture the national development thrust until 2030. When completed, it will guide the national planning process.  The GSDS will espouse an inclusive, green and prosperous state, delivering a low carbon footprint and a diversified economy to the benefit of ‘everyone’.

In keeping with the President’s promise, and our Government’s resolve to set the pace, Guyana was the first country in the Caribbean to launch the United Nations Multi-country Sustainable Development Framework and to sign its corresponding Country Implementation Plan, earlier this year.

As we go forward, with the anticipation of new resources on our national horizon from oil and gas, work has advanced towards the preparation of a Sovereign Wealth Fund to ensure that the country’s natural resources are utilised in a responsible and sustainable manner, so that present and future generations can benefit.

Risks to Improving HDI

Notwithstanding the many positives, several challenges still loom.  Climate change, infrastructure gaps, food security, public safety and security, quality education services, communicable and non-communicable diseases, and equitable provision of public services across all ten regions, pose daunting hurdles to achieving sustainable development for ALL.

The more recent risks of the exchange rate of the SDRs to US dollars when added to the prospects of declining concessional resources would narrow the fiscal space available to our still developing country.  Indeed, it is almost perverse to remove concessional borrowing options, as a country makes small developmental steps, because, in so doing, we risk the nullification or reversal of critical development gains that have been made and compromise the sustainability that could be achieved with longer transition periods.  We must collectively guard against this. Our development partners must be prepared to demonstrate and deliver on commitments made in respect of providing official development assistance. This would help our countries to undertake programmes, consistent with national priorities that can have a decided impact on the poor, vulnerable and marginalised peoples.

As noted on page 154 of this report, in meeting the SDG 17 target, the developed countries will need to implement fully their official development assistance commitments, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of ODA/GNI to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries ODA providers are encouraged to consider setting a target to provide at least 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries. This is critical to achieving the 2030 Vision of the SDGs, given limited domestic resources.  Indeed, anything less would be to demonstrate a conscious lack of commitment towards overcoming barriers to achieving universalism and in so doing effectively promote “deprivation and inequality, discrimination and exclusion, prejudice and intolerance”.

Conclusion

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me commend the UNDP for the ongoing work in developing this report over the years; it serves as a useful tool, as well as a reminder, to aid countries in measuring their progress across a range of human development indicators. I should like, also, to commend the UNDP Guyana team, the Office of the UN Resident Representative and the entire UN family here in Guyana, for their continuing efforts to support national development.  Please be assured that our Government regards your role as strategic partner in our national development process as indispensable. I look forward to the future engagements, including those which will be guided by this report.

I also agree that human development for everyone is attainable.  But … yes there is a but … only if we, collectively, ensure that our work programmes reflect the multi-dimensional nature of development and poverty – so that we address development in a holistic, coordinated manner. This flagship report is a significant advancement in the measure of progress of our country.  We must be led by national needs, balanced with global responsibilities. Every man, woman and child, no matter where they may be in their life cycle, must be able to enjoy a good quality of life.  I urge our development partners to honour the global pledges made to developing countries, even as we strive to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. If we ALL act and deliver on our commitments, as Government, as development partners, as private sector and civil society, then we will create a nation where no one is left behind, true inclusive development prevails, and the “Good Life” is experienced by ALL.

It is now my privilege to launch, here in Guyana, the Human Development Report for 2016. Let us, together, ensure that here, in Guyana, Human Development is for everyone.

I thank you!

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02 Jun
02 Jun
02 Jun
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Minister’s Speech at Opening of Bureau of Statistics Building

Speech Delivered by Honourable Winston Jordan, Minister of Finance at the Dedication ceremony of the Bureau of Statistics New Building, April 7, 2017

Your Excellency President David Granger; Chairman of the Proceedings, Board of Directors, Management and Staff of the Bureau of Statistics; Special Invitees, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Today is a Good Day; even a Great Day, perhaps! For it is the day that we have chosen to commission this fully refurbished building – -which previously housed the Customs and Excise Department, as the permanent headquarters of Guyana’s Central Statistical Office, the Bureau of Statistics. In the words of that haunting song by Etta James, ‘At Last’! Finally, after years of being shunted around like a second cousin, after years of living in borrowed and rented premises, the Bureau has been given a permanent home.

As the Chief Statistician earlier pointed out, prior to 1957, data collection, compilation and dissemination were conducted by some government departments.  However, to facilitate more efficient co-ordination of the data process, it was decided, in 1957, to establish a Department of Statistics as a Department of Government with the mandate of collecting data and publishing statistics relating to Guyana’s economic and social sectors.  Progress and development over the next three (3) decades culminated in the Bureau being incorporated, in October 1990, as a semi-autonomous agency, under the Laws of Guyana, to further bolster the independence of statistical management.

Since its establishment, the Bureau, like other related Statistical Agencies in our Region, has played a pivotal role in conducting censuses; collecting, compiling, analysing and publishing socio-economic and other statistical data as well as collaborating with other government agencies in the publication of data derived from administrative sources. However, completing these tasks was not without challenges, as, historically, staff from the Bureau has never been fortunate to be housed at a single location.  As earlier referred to, these less than efficient arrangements came at a managerial and logistical cost. Despite these challenges, the Bureau has continued to strive to deliver its mandate over the years.

You will appreciate, therefore, why my opening sentence was in praise of this day. Undoubtedly this morning’s commissioning Ceremony is a further symbol of Government’s unwavering commitment to ensure that data remain at the heart of policy decision-making within our country. It started with an approach by the Chief statistician, Mr. Lennox Benjamin, to me, as Minister of Finance, with responsibility for the Bureau, soon after the new Government came to Office. He represented to me that the Bureau was spread wide, across three locations; that that did not make for efficient and effective operations; that, as a result, the Bureau was hampered in its ability to execute its functions. He said that he had made numerous representations to previous Administrations – all of which had fallen on deaf ears. Though everyone recognized the importance of the Bureau, this was not reflected in their treatment of the institution. He asked me to put an end to this. In short, it was time that the Bureau had a permanent home.

I, too, shared Mr. Benjamin’s passion and sincerity, as well as his conclusion that the Bureau should have a permanent home now, rather than some time in the future. So, I identified the old Customs building, which was slated for another fire sale under the previous Administration. Luckily, our Government removed it from the chopping block and, after fending off several of my Cabinet colleagues, who had been eyeing the building for one purpose or the other, I won the approval of the Cabinet to utilize the building as the headquarters of the Bureau of Statistics. At this stage, I would like to pay tribute to the former Chief Planning Officer, who is deceased, Mr. Clyde Roopchand, who, initially, spearheaded the project to refurbish the building, which eventually cost in excess of $160 million to complete.

Mr. Chairman, we are all aware of the paucity of data that were made available to the public prior to May 2015. It got so ridiculous that to get simple weather information, it had to be first cleared at the “top”, meaning by the then Office of the President or, perhaps, the Minister of Agriculture, before it could have been released by the responsible agency. Now, this is no more. Information is being made available with increasing quantity and frequency; and its quality has also been improving, though there is a long road still to be travelled. But, overall, the trend has been in the right direction.

As Minister of Finance, in charge of managing this economy, I am perfectly aware that our capability and capacity for conducting good policies largely depends on the quality of available statistics. The performance of the complex economic models, which have developed over the years, and the capability of policymakers to achieve set objectives and tasks depend, more than ever, on the relevance and importance of the information they get on the economy. Hence, statistical data represent a key input in macroeconomic policymaking. They are an indicator for the performance of the economy and a basis for the adoption of current decisions. And, too, they underlie the projections for the future developments. Therefore, their quality, impartiality and timeliness are crucial for the successful functioning of the economy of any country. In addition, the statistical indicators are also a basis for the comparative analyses with the economies of other countries and are essentially relevant for the positioning of the economy worldwide.

As a result of the process of globalization, changes are occurring even more rapidly, creating a greater demand for the foundations to be laid in economic, social and natural resource management.  These requirements place an even greater demand on our statistical agency. So the modernisation and transformation of the Bureau is essential, if we are to meet these development objectives.  I must applaud the Bureau for beginning the transformation process.  Over the next two years, the Bureau plans to deliver the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as well as a Household Budget Survey (HBS).  I should like to place on record the contributions of the Inter-American Development Bank, United Nations Statistical Office, Statistics Canada and the Caribbean Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC), which are among the organizations that have continued to support the work of the Bureau.

These surveys will certainly provide vital information on employment as well as other key socio-economic data such as consumption and poverty, which will enable our Government to make better economic decisions.  The expansion of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) into an all urban index will also provide important pricing information, especially for the hinterland areas; information that is fundamental in the assessment of changes in the cost of living. The Bureau will also establish a Poverty Unit, in order to make poverty data accessible on a more frequent basis.  These initiatives will certainly enhance the profile of the Bureau, as it aims to become the premier statistical agency within the region.

As Government remains committed to the development of human capacity, in 2017, staff at the Bureau will benefit from training from Statistics Canada, especially in the areas of information technology, data analysis, national accounts, trade and prices.  A module of training in data analysis has already been delivered during the month of March.  Projected training in National Accounts will encompass building capacity for the inclusion of the petroleum sector into our national accounts when commercial production commences. These initiatives will enable staff to acquire the requisite skills needed for the tasks ahead.  Staff will be trained in the use of tablets to collect and process data in the fields as technology will play an important role in enabling the Bureau to produce data that are timely, relevant and of good quality.

Mr. Chairman, before closing, permit to express my deep appreciation for the unblemished, dedicated services of the venerable Chief Statistician, Mr. Lennox Benjamin, whose sterling contribution of an exceptionally high quality in the field of statistics was recognized in 2011 with the award of the country’s third highest honour, the Cacique Crown of Honour, CCH. As he prepares to ride off into the sunset, I hope his heart will remain with the Bureau, and that he would continue to avail himself, as the Bureau goes through a likely difficult transition period.

Mr. Chairman, I look forward to the transformation of the Bureau of Statistics over the next few years, since the Government will continue to look to this entity for the vital socio-economic statistics that it needs for planning.  This building is a symbol of the great things to come from this agency.  Congratulations to the Board of Directors of the Bureau, which, for the first time in its history, is chaired by a woman, Dr. Natasha Gaskin-Peters; Congratulations to Mr. Benjamin and the rest of his team!

Thank you!

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02 Jun
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Remarks by Hon Minister of Finance at IFAD HQ

Remarks by Hon. Winston Jordan, Minister of Finance at the Signing Ceremony for a Loan to Finance Agricultural Development in Guyana
International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD) Headquarters
Rome, Italy, March 21, 2017

Your Excellency, President Kanayo F. Nwanze, other officials of the Bank, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is always an enchanting and riveting experience to visit the ancient city of Rome. The architecture, the history, the people, the food – these are all exotic elements of this land that always make for memorable visits.

It is also a privilege to visit Rome for the first time in my capacity of Minister of Finance for the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, having traversed this landscape in 1988 and 1989.

Since acceding to Office, in May 2015, my Government has undertaken an analysis of the factors that are impeding real growth in Guyana. The findings of this modest, but in- depth, analysis have led to the following observations:

  1. Since Independence in 1966, the Guyanese economy has remained un-diversified. Guyana’s “bread and butter sector”, the agricultural sector, also, remained unchanged, with heavy reliance on two primary crops: sugar and rice.
  2.  There is a spatial and developmental divide between the coastland and the hinterland of Guyana. The coastland, which is a narrow strip along the Atlantic Ocean, is home to over 90% of Guyana’s population. However, it is vulnerable to the very real threats and gripping terrors that climate change presents. On the other hand, even though the hinterland region of Guyana boasts rich soils, exotic fauna and flora, pristine rainforests and endless natural resources wealth, including gold, diamond and bauxite, to name a few, the hinterland remains a largely un-inhabited area, with limited business opportunities and underdeveloped infrastructure.
  3. The Private Sector, which is expected to be the engine of growth, has suffered from a lack of adequate, customised and easy access to financing. Our Small Business Sector, especially small scaled farmers, remain largely under developed with unsophisticated tools, constrained financing and limited focus on traditional crops, sugar and rice.

Growth in the agricultural sector has always been seen as an important element in the plan for reducing poverty, developing financial resilience and providing the good life for all of our peoples. Some of the strategies through which this can occur  are:

  • increasing production and improving the quality of traditional crops
  •  facilitating and supporting efforts to link small farmers to dynamic markets
  •  increasing adaptation to climate change and pursuing a green growth pathway
  •  deepening ownership and access to land by small farmers and indigenous communities.

It is against this backdrop that the Hinterland Environmentally Sustainable Agricultural Development Project, “Hinterland Project”, was designed.

This US$10.89 million operation is expected to boost the Government’s efforts in diversifying the economy, with special focus on the Agricultural Sector, by shifting small farmers from traditional crops to the farming of non-traditional, in demand crops, with high value added potential. This, in turn, will open up new markets and new trade agreements for Guyana.

The impending loan will also support Government’s drive to link the Coastland to the Hinterland by opening up new farming communities in the hinterland region, Region #9, and the higher interior lands of Region #1. The creation of these new opportunities within these newly re-invigorated communities will also foster stronger local government and local community participation, thereby promoting growth through added human resources. In short, this project will:

  1. Support communities and producer groups within communities to identify investment opportunities and managed economic and climate risks.  It is expected that some 4,500 households will benefit.
  2. Develop business plans and investment and income generating opportunities as well as increase market access.  Some 2,000 households will be targeted.
  3. Facilitate increased access to assets that build community resilience and create an enabling productive environment  such as water, energy and ICT.

My Government’s strategies to support the work of small-scale farmers will also be realised through the establishment of financing instruments to farmers who reside in Regions 1&9.

In closing, Mr. President, I acknowledge the efforts of the staff of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), staff of our Ministry of Agriculture and my own staff in the Ministry of Finance who worked feverishly towards designing this key operation for Guyana’s Agricultural Sector. We are most grateful!

Mr. President, as Guyana enters into the dawn of a new phase of its economic and social development, we will continue to count on IFAD’s financing and expertise to realise our vision, goals and objectives in the Agriculture sector.

I thank you!

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