Finance Minister lauds IDB’s evolving role in Guyana’s development

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh says the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has an evolving role in Guyana’s development.

The Minister made this statement on Wednesday, during a simple ceremony at Demerara Bank’s Camp Street corporate office, for the disbursement of trade finance from the IDB to several local businesses. They are Pure Diamonds Incorporated, Dinar Trading, DDL Group, Golden Fleece Investment, and A. Cayume Hakh and Sons.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh

The Finance Minister said the initiative, valued at US$7 million is a manifestation of that role.

“Let me say that the provision of this US$7 million by the IDB to Demerara Bank, and by Demerara Bank to clients such as yourselves, the injection of this liquidity comes at an extremely challenging time for the Guyanese economy, and indeed the regional and global economy.”

Dr. Singh noted Guyana’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 400 lives, and the nationwide flooding which has disrupted the livelihoods of thousands. He said it is to the credit of all involved, including local financial institutions like Demerara Bank and Guyana’s hemispheric development partners like the IDB, that the country has been able to navigate the pandemic without major disruption.

The Minister said he was pleased to know that agriculture is among sectors set to benefit from the trade finance facility.

Front (L-R) Demerara Bank CEO, Mr. Pravinchandra Dave; Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh; Demerara Bank Founding Chairman, Dr. Yesu Persaud; IDB Country Representative, Ms. Sophie Makonnen – Back (L-R) Representatives of beneficiaries of IDB Trade Finance facility: Golden Fleece Rice Investment, Mr. Nazeemul Hakh; Pure Diamonds Incorporated Ms. Akeisha Paulsingh; DDL Group, Mr. Vasudeo Singh; Dinar Trading, Mr. Mohamed Hussain; A. Cayume Hakh and Sons, Ms. Reymona Ramlall; and Demerara Bank staffer

“We feel very strongly as a Government that agriculture is going to be the mainstay of the non-oil economy. This is the age in which we realise that long heralded potential that we have spoken about.

This is the generation in which we will be realizing Guyana’s long heralded potential to become the breadbasket of the Caribbean, and to realise the potential of agriculture.”

Dr. Singh said agriculture, mining and manufacturing are three pivotal sectors for the development of the strong, diversified non-oil economy the PPP/C Government envisions.

The Minister encouraged the IDB to embark on more initiatives in Guyana, noting that the Government has been creating a conducive environment to facilitate partnerships like the one between the IDB and Demerara Bank.

IDB Country Representative, Ms. Sophie Makonnen stressed the importance of the private sector in Guyana’s development and transformation.

IDB Country Representative, Ms. Sophie Makonnen

“We recognise the importance of supporting growth, and the growth is also about supporting the private sector because it’s critical and fundamental, and it’s part of the development of the country.

And with all the opportunities that are now presenting themselves, and we all know, we see it coming, the private sector is poised to be part of this transformation, and the banks are here to support the private sector.”

Meanwhile, Demerara Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Pravinchandra Dave explained that the financial institution is working with the IDB to have a line of credit with which it could provide cheaper financing to exporters.

The bank’s founding chairman, philanthropist Dr. Yesu Persaud charged the institution to grow towards becoming number one in Guyana.