Changing dynamics prompts review of IDB portfolio
DPI, Guyana, Friday, October 06, 2017
The Senior Vice President of the Inter-American Development Bank IDB) Julie Katzman is currently in Guyana to review the IDB portfolio, with the government, and to look at areas for continued collaboration.
Speaking with the Department of Public Information (DPI) at a cocktail reception held in her honor, Minister of Finance Winston Jordon opined the visit stems from a speech he made at the IDB, where he called for “out of the box thinking.”
According to Minister Jordan, the world is “a dynamic place” and frequently banks and multilateral agencies have to respond to the changing dynamics in their member countries. He noted the dynamics in Guyana have changed with the administration assuming office after 23 years, therefore priorities and focus will be different.
The meeting with Katzaman and her team highlighted several issues and challenges and identified possible solutions. Minister Jordan disclosed that the present administration inherited some major issues.
“One of the problems is that we inherited a significant portfolio from the previous government and this portfolio has in it a number of projects that we would call ill-conceived or virtually dead projects. We have loans for example that we approved since 2012, by the time we got in, they had not moved virtually one inch in terms of disbursement,” he explained.
As a result, resources were lost while others were reprogrammed.
The minister cited the example of the loan granted for the widening of Sherriff Street, which he opined should not have been prioritised over the issues such as health and education. That money will now go to the housing sector between the catchment area of Sheriff Street and Mandela Avenue where it is expected to benefit the poor.
Meantime, the IBD representative has already visited several IDB funded projects and met with various government representatives.
Katzman said the discussions dealt with current portfolio; the emerging oil and gas sector and how Guyana can benefit and ways to accelerate the execution of loans in the portfolio. She also disclosed that IBD’s Head of Infrastructure has met with local infrastructure Minister David Patterson to discuss future projects.
At the reception, Katzman was presented with an artist’s impression of the walkover at Providence.
By: Natasha Smith.