Guyana aims to unlock over $28B for development
– within framework of LCDS
– Minister Singh
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh says the Government aims to unblock some $28.2 billion (US$135 million) for development within the framework of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
The Minister made this announcement during his Budget 2021 presentation in the National Assembly.
Dr. Singh said the LCDS afforded Guyana an opportunity to earn up to US$250 million over five years, through the Norway agreement via the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF.)
He said when the APNU+AFC took office, they squandered funds that were available. This led to a halt on the release of the remaining funds, which Guyana had already earned. Dr. Singh said close to US$30 million for existing projects have not been released and more than US$135 million is sitting in bank accounts outside of Guyana.
This, he said, is the most shameful economic legacy of the APNU+AFC; however, he gave assurances that the PPP/Government would repair the damage.
“In today’s budget we are taking steps to unblock the more than US$135 million that had not been released for allocation for projects.
“These resources will be invested in areas primarily in renewable energy projects, and to strengthen the agency’s involvement in regulating the sector such as the Guyana Forestry Commission as well as to advance ongoing projects such as the Amerindian Land Titling Project, sustainable land management and on ICT access for hinterland, poor and remote communities,” he said.
The Minister said Government would also be working to access emerging international markets for climate services. He added that these markets are believed to be able to contribute to 75 per cent of needed offsets to meet the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement.
“This is exactly the message that Guyana and other forest countries have been championing for over a decade while pointing out that in developing countries in particular, all societies need to rapidly grow low carbon opportunities if they are to diversify their economies away from the traditional development path.”
Dr. Singh said the Government would create an expanded LCDS to take into account the challenges that has emerged since the strategy was introduced.
“We will expand it to a comprehensive development strategy, needless to say this will incorporate the fact we are now an oil producer. In the updated LCDS, this Government will set out how Guyana can achieve the national transformation that the PPP/C manifesto speaks of while also participating in the global economic transformation that will take place in coming decades.”
President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali during his inaugural address to Parliament on Thursday, said an expanded LCDS would guide Guyana’s developmental trajectory. The President said it would be done in an inclusive, low carbon, sustainable, clean, resilient path with increased economic opportunities and investments linked to greater social and infrastructural development. The expanded LCDS would also see the establishment of an International Centre of Excellence for Biological Diversity. The $383.1 billion budget was presented under the theme ‘A Path to Recovery, Economic Dynamism and Resilience’.