Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh on Monday inked new loan agreements with the Inter-American Development Bank (IaDB) which are expected to help the country pursue much-needed projects, including a rehabilitation of the congested East Bank Demerara corridor.
The agreements were signed in Port of Spain at the sidelines of the ongoing XI annual meeting of Caribbean Governors of the IDB.
The first agreement focuses on strengthening the local healthcare network. Through this, the Bank will finance up to US$160 million through a conditional credit line for investment projects (CCLIP) and up to US$97 million in an individual loan with resources from its ordinary capital.
Dr. Singh said this funding will allow the government to upgrade hospitals, particularly in remote areas, in a bid to improve people’s access to quality healthcare.
He said it will also fund the government’s new telemedicine venture, which sees far-flung communities using information and communication technologies (ICT) to get support from medical professionals in Georgetown or other centres.
The second loan agreement will support climate resilience in Guyana’s road infrastructure development. The Bank will finance up to US$100 million with resources from its ordinary capital.
“In particular, this project will support the rehabilitation of the East Bank Demerara highway which is a major artery given the rapid growth taking place… but is already severely congested,” Dr. Singh said, as he offered brief comments before the signing.
Finally, a US$8 million loan to enhance Guyana’s national quality infrastructure for competitiveness was inked. This is expected to help micro, small and medium-sized businesses boost their competitiveness.
And Dr. Singh announced that a “a new and modern, world-class, state-of-the-art” laboratory that will be operated by the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) is among the projects to be pursued under this loan.
“(The laboratory) is sbsolutely critical for standards and certification, which have taken on new importance with the developments in Guyana,” the Finance Minister reasoned