BNTF prepares for 10th cycle in Guyana

The Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) is preparing for the 10th round of its programme here in Guyana.

Implemented under the Ministry of Finance, BNTF 10 will focus on three priority areas; education and human resource development, water and sanitation and basic community access and drainage.

BNTF Project Manager Mr. Dikkedemma Utoh told DPI that the entity continues to improve the resilience of Guyanese through poverty alleviation, which is their mandate. The 10th cycle is expected to begin in March and should run for four years.

BNTF Project Manager, Mr. Dikkedemma Utoh

“We are entering the closing stage of the BNTF ninth programme and CDB has indicated BNTF 10 for 2021 to 2024. We are closing one cycle and about to start the work for the tenth cycle.”

Currently, Mr. Utoh said, he is working with other stakeholders on the projects for BNTF 10 as the CDB has presented an “indicative” figure for the grant. In the meantime, the Ministry of Finance has allocated percentages to continue the work of each sector under the BNTF.

Meanwhile, the agency is still completing some projects under the BNTF nine which began in 2018. Much of the work was stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The ninth cycle consists of 32 projects with 12 completed so far. BNTF has written the CDB for an extension to December 31, 2021 for the completion of this. So, we will, more or less, be implementing two cycles simultaneously, closing the ninth and starting the tenth,” he said.

Even as COVID-19 prevails, the agency has been using one of its own projects to combat the pandemic. Mr. Utoh said the BNTF, since the sixth cycle, has been implementing Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) training as part of water interventions.

During the course of the pandemic, they have installed several handwashing stations at schools and health centres in many hinterland communities.

“These are in response to Covid because handwashing is said to be a very economical way in which infectious diseases such as COVID-19 can be prevented,” Mr. Utoh noted.

The BNTF is one of the CDB’s key instruments for addressing poverty reduction. It provides access for the poor and most vulnerable communities, to basic public services through the provision of social and economic infrastructure and human resources development to enhance employability, community management and engagement.

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