Sod turned for new $150M Demerara Bank branch at Leonora
– to bolster economic development
The construction of the ninth Demerara Bank Limited branch at Leonora, West Coast Demerara, is expected to bolster economic development in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).
A sod turning ceremony was held on Thursday, to mark the start of the construction of the bank at Tract ‘DB’ Groenveldt, Leonora. The bank’s construction is pegged at between $150 to $160 million, and is expected to benefit some 75,000 residents.
Delivering the feature address, His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali said that the investment, added to the many infrastructural development projects underway in the region, will create a modern economic hub that will generate thousands of jobs.
“I have no doubt that development like these will support the other massive transformative developments that will take place along the coastline,” the head of state said.
Currently, Leonora is benefitting from billion-dollar investments by private developers by way of a new mall and entertainment centre, hospital and housing schemes.
The government is also establishing the Wales Development Authority on the West Bank of Demerara, which will see the creation of Guyana’s first gas-to-shore project that will harness natural gas produced in oil fields offshore. This project is aimed at generating cheaper electricity.
The construction of the new Demerara River bridge and the new four-lane highway from Schoonord to Crane which will commence soon are among other major developments.
With these massive developments taking shape along the coastline, President Ali said that very soon, the administration will have to examine the capacity of the Parika port to take off more aggregate of goods and services.
“An entire logistic chain has to be created around that,” the president said, while noting that structures and capacity will have to be built to address some of the issues facing the region.
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with within responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh while delivering remarks, said that the financial sector is, and should be an active participant and contributor to economic growth and transformation.
“…And that requires a particular posture in relation to facilitation and ease of credit. The provision of readily and competitively available credit is an essential part of any modern economy… and financial institutions have an important role to play in ensuring the ready access to an affordable access to credit,” he added.
The Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Mr. Komal Samaroo, said the modern facility is expected to be completed within 18 months. It will be powered by solar systems which will provide 100% renewable energy for the branch.
In December 2020, Demerara Bank opened its eighth branch at Mahaica, East Coast Demerara, which was constructed at a total cost of $500 million. In May last year, the bank also launched its no-collateral business loan aimed at providing better access to funding for rice farmers.