Finance Minister outlines Guyana’s development agenda to British officials

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Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh on Monday had discussions with high-ranking officials from His Majesty’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office during which he outlined the government’s developmental agenda for Guyana.

Dr. Singh met with Malcolm Geere, Development Director, Caribbean, and Liz Brower, Team Leader for Inclusive Economic Growth and Economic Adviser, Caribbean Region at the Ministry of Finance, Georgetown. The team was led by British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller.

The meeting served as an opportunity for the British team to discuss how the United Kingdom (UK) could partner with Guyana to increase mobilization of development support as the Government continues to forge a number of international partnerships to catapult its current development agenda.

According to a press release from the Ministry, during the meeting the Finance Minister detailed the government’s plans to utilize the country’s oil revenue to diversify its non-oil economy into a globally competitive one.

The delegation was also told of the government’s plan to invest in the country’s citizens to create a suitably equipped and skilled workforce in line with the current and future demand for new sets of skills.

“Notwithstanding the commencement of oil production in Guyana and this illusion that there is windfall revenue, we still feel strongly about utilizing as much development support as we can,” Dr. Singh was quoted as saying in the release.

He explained that the government plans to ensure that revenue from the oil and gas industry is used to develop agriculture, transport infrastructure, energy infrastructure, roads, bridges, schools and hospitals and is invested in people to ensure they are adequately equipped with the skills to meet new demands.

Dr. Singh also noted that the government intends to fully capitalize on its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and will continue to manage Guyana’s tropical rainforest in a sustainable manner in order to be compensated by the world for its forest conservation and clean air contribution, the release noted.

The Minister also touched briefly on Guyana’s Sovereign Wealth Fund which he reminded comprises part of the oil proceeds being put aside for future generations.

Guyana and the UK have been collaborating on a number of development projects with the UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund most recently providing US$66 Million toward the US$190Million Linden to Mabura road project.

Additionally, through the UK Export Finance (UKEF) the Government of Guyana is constructing a Pediatric and Maternal Hospital. The building and equipping of the state-of-the-art hospital will cost £149 Million.

Co-operation programmes/projects between Guyana and the UK also include the Diamond Diagnostic Centre, the Lethem hospital, the Leonora Cottage Hospital, the Mabaruma Hospital and the Paramakatoi Hospital.

Through collaboration between the two countries as well, Guyanese can now visit the UK visa-free and British Airways will commence direct flights to Guyana from London in early 2023.

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