US agencies float staggering US$200B financing for local projects
The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and five other U.S. agencies have floated financing for local projects in the vicinity of US$200 billion, the head of the local private sector said on Tuesday night.
“What they have talked to us about is the quantum of funds they can lend…from all of the agencies in the room, it is over US$200B,” Nicholas Boyer, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission told the media during a joint press conference at the Pegasus Hotel.
“For all the time I’ve lived in Guyana, I’ve never seen this sort of movement on an economic standpoint from the US. So clearly for us, it signals a new era in the US-Guyana relationship and I think that is something we should take advantage of,” he added.
The team which visited Guyana comprised representatives from the US Treasury, the US State Department, the National Security Council, Homeland Security and the Export Import (EXIM) Bank.
The delegation was led by Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) Adam Boehler.
There are many projects on which the DFC is looking to cooperate including the deep water harbour, small and medium sized businesses, agriculture and reduction of electricity cost. But Boehler zoned in on the Corentyne River Bridge which will link Guyana and Suriname.
“It’s a rare time of alignment between Suriname and Guyana to have a great new administrations that are investing in their private market,” he said one day before a team of Surinamese Ministers also travel to Guyana.
Boehler during Tuesday’s press conference said the US need to strengthen relationship with Guyana “started with the finalization of the democratic elections here and the administration’s commitment to private enterprise, transparency and rule of law.”
“When I think of the United States and its success, it is because of our private businesses and that is why within less than a month since the US Secretary of State [Mike Pompeo] been here, you see action on behalf of the US Government,” he added.
He said the private sector will be a strong partner and he hopes that the projects will be announced soon on which partnerships will move forward.
The CEO said the US will fund multi-billion dollar projects as well as small entrepreneurs.
Asked if the projects will be given primarily to Guyana-based US businesses, Boehler said he supports a transparent and competitive selection process.
“We have the ability to back US-based companies in Guyana but also other companies, Guyanese companies too. So what’s very important is that we’re American and we like American companies…but we can back Guyanese companies as well in some of these efforts,” Boehler said.
Asked how confident he is that US Companies will win competitive bids, he said “any American company like any company has to win competitive bids.”
It is believed in the bidding process for large projects, major competitors will be Chinese companies, some of which are already completing infrastructure projects in Guyana.
However, Boehler said “high quality” is one thing that can differentiate American companies from those others.
Teams from the agencies and the local private sector and the Government are expected to meet shortly to finalise the projects to move forward.