IDB’s private sector transactions with Guyana totals US$58M but Finance Minister says figure ‘scratches the surface’

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved eight transactions with Guyana’s private sector totalling about US$58 million in several key areas

But with the government hoping that the IDB and other external financial institutions could provide more much-needed financing to local private sector investors, Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh says this US$58 million sum is relatively small.

IDB Country Representative Lorena Solórzano Salazar, at an IDB Invest workshop on Monday, said these eight transactions were in agri-business, transport and logistics, financial services and the energy sector.

And she emphasised, “It is our commitment to grow those numbers.”

Dr. Singh, however, noted that the existing sum is small considering the abundance of opportunities across all productive sectors locally.

“You are only scratching the surface… You haven’t even made a dent,” the Finance Minister said.

As such, he encouraged the IDB and the local private sector to work closer together so that local companies would be better positioned to access financing to start or expand their businesses in Guyana.

And he doesn’t want engagements between the IDB and the local private sector to be limited to large-scale investments like new shore bases, for example.

According to him, the IDB does and can continue to offer smaller loans that can help small and medium-sized businesses. He also encouraged the IDB to explore lending opportunities for micro-sized businesses.

With this Bank and other financial institutions stepping up, Dr. Singh said the financing gap left by local banks would be addressed better.

“The banks themselves would be the first to admit that their balance sheets and their capacity to lend domestically remain relatively modest given the investment requirements in Guyana,” he noted.

Aside from lending opportunities, Dr. Singh acknowledged the Bank’s efforts at engaging private sector investors on meeting certain international standards before they can access much-needed financing. That sort of capacity-building, he said, is particularly needed as Guyana continues to develop as a more sophisticated place for business.

IDB Invest is a multilateral investment institution that is an independent affiliate of the IDB Group, invests in small and medium-size private projects, either directly or through equity funds.

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