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US$13.3M to strengthen teaching system, UG; US$6M for National Payment System

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A loan which will be channelled towards teacher training, strengthening of national assessment capacity and development of teaching materials, was yesterday (Thursday, June 22, 2017) signed by the Minister of Finance.

The US$13.3M loan agreement from the World Bank was signed by Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan and World Bank Senior Country Officer, Pierre Nadji in the Ministry of Finance’s boardroom, Lamaha Street, Georgetown.

The initiatives will be undertaken under the Education Sector Improvement (ESI) which is a successor programme to the Secondary Reform Programme.

Director of Projects, Management Division, Ministry of Finance, Tarchand Balgobin said, “this is government’s thrust in the development of the Education Sector, bearing in mind the Oil and Gas Sector and personnel training to respond to the developmental challenges that are before us.”

According to Director of Projects, the new project will also facilitate the development of a new curriculum framework and teaching guides.

The project will also support the University of Guyana’s Health Sciences Facility, Balgobin said. He noted that the loan will aid the University in achieving and maintaining regional accreditation for its medical programme through improved and sustained teaching quality.

The Projects Director explained that a new Health Sciences Education building, with modern training and laboratory facilities, will be constructed.

The Ministry of Education will be the implementing Ministry for this project.

Additionally, a US$6M loan was signed for a National Payment System.

Picture includes Minister of Finance Winston Jordan, Minister within the Ministry of Finance Jaipaul Sharma, Country Officer Guyana, Suriname and Belize of the World Bank Pierre Nadji, Governor of the Bank of Guyana Dr. Gobind Ganga along with representatives of the Bank of Guyana, World Bank and the Ministry of Finance.

The system is a technology driven process that seeks to engender and facilitate financial and other commercial transactions. Balgobin explained that “What this does is to improve the way cash is handled in Guyana.” He said that it is more than the physical money transactions since the system includes the legal and regulatory framework, the institution policies, rules, regulations and procedures.

Balgobin added that this system drives the electronic transfers and the clearing house mechanisms.

He further said that the system will be applied to governmental transactions which include the Public Sector Payroll, The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), government pensions among others.

Balgobin said that it is envisaged that the system will roll-out to include all commercial transaction nationally. The Private Sector is expected to be a key stakeholder in the process.

The Bank of Guyana will be the implementer of this project.

Following the conclusion of the most recent Country Development strategy between the World Bank and government, a significant increase in concessional resources has been announced for Guyana (approximately US$ 90M).

According to the Finance Ministry, the government intends to focus this development support in the improvements to the Linden Soesdyke Highway; support to the emerging Oil and Gas Sector including studies, institutional development and capacity building and on a policy based lending facility, among other areas.

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