Govt signs another loan agreement

first_imgFinance Minister Winston Jordan and World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, Tahseen Khan…to provide technical assistance to oil & gas sectorThe Government of Guyana has inked another loan agreement, this time with the World Bank, which will be providing funds and support for Guyana to build its framework for overseeing the oil and gas sector.According to a statement from the Finance Ministry, the loan agreement was signed by Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Thursday with World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, Tahseen Khan.“Minister Jordan noted the timely nature of the loan agreement as it sought to provide much-needed technical assistance to the emerging oil and gas sector,” the statement observed, adding that the money would build human resource capacity and strengthen institutional frameworks in the oil and gas sector.“Ms Khan said that the loan agreement will aid in building the capacity of key institutions, such as the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Finance, for prudent management of the oil revenues.”Jordan was accompanied by Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr Gobind Ganga, Guyana’s Ambassador to USA Dr Riyad Insanally and Jason Fields from the Embassy of Guyana.Last year, a total of $333.2 million in capital funds was allocated by the Government for petroleum and energy management. The 2019 Budget estimates also detailed that current expenditure.This amount, among other things, which will go towards employment and other recurrent costs was $90.9 million. Specifically, wages and salaries were expected to cost the Treasury $20.5 million.With little over a year to go before first oil, Government has been criticised for the slow pace of preparation. For instance, critical measures like a national oil spill strategy; a constitutional agency to regulate the sector; a national oil company, a local content policy and a Sovereign Wealth Fund are either still in the planning stages or have only been discussed.This does not include several worrying fiscal indicators which have caused audit firm Ram and McRae to project reduced earnings from first oil for Guyana if these trends are allowed to continue.One such trend is the Government’s fiscal deficit, a case where monies are sourced more from loans than from revenue. According to the firm in its Budget Focus, Guyana risks less money going towards the Natural Resources Fund and more going towards making up for the deficit.When it comes to debt, it was only in February that Government announced it had signed two new loans with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), totalling US$31 million; monies that Government said will go towards areas of trade and energy.This was revealed by Minister of State Joseph Harmon during a press conference. Harmon revealed that Finance Minister Jordan signed the agreements on February 11.Part of the monies includes financing for a single window trade system which is meant to simplify transactions. Monies will also go towards improving service from the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) and other energy-related expenses.As of 2017, Guyana had a total public debt of $344.9 billion. According to the 2017 edition of the Public Debt Annual Report, this was an increase of 4.4 per cent in one year.Even though Guyana’s indebtedness to external creditors has increased, so has debt servicing (repayments). According to the Bank of Guyana Quarterly Report and Statistical Bulletin released last year, repayment of external debt grew by some US$24.3 million to US$85.3 million. This is a rate of 59.1 per cent when compared to the corresponding period of 2017.last_img read more

Sweet Taste for Bee Farmers in Western Jamaica

first_img It will directly benefit 36 bee farmers who are registered members of the Hanover Bee Farmers’ Cooperative Society and 190 bee farmers from the adjoining parishes. Story Highlights The 1,500 square-foot facility was officially handed over to the cooperative society by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) during a recent ceremony held at its location at the old Rural Agricultural and Development Authority (RADA) Parish Office Complex in Lucea, Hanover. Life should get a lot sweeter for more than 200 bee farmers in the western parishes who now have access to a new $27-million state-of-the-art honey-extraction and bottling facility – the first of its kind in Jamaica.By improving market access and increasing their earnings from the sale of honey, bee farmers in Hanover and the adjoining parishes of St. James, Trelawny and Westmoreland should enhance their livelihood significantly from the use of the plant.It will directly benefit 36 bee farmers who are registered members of the Hanover Bee Farmers’ Cooperative Society and 190 bee farmers from the adjoining parishes.The 1,500 square-foot facility was officially handed over to the cooperative society by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) during a recent ceremony held at its location at the old Rural Agricultural and Development Authority (RADA) Parish Office Complex in Lucea, Hanover.It has been outfitted with modern equipment, including frame honey extractors, stainless-steel storage tanks, settling tanks and honey strainers.Expressing his gratitude for the plant on behalf of the beneficiaries, Manager of the Cooperative Society, Winfield Murray, notes that it will serve to develop the local apicultural industry in the target parishes, by equipping bee farmers with the right tools to remain sustainable.He points out that the facility will provide proper storage, supply and logistics services and reduce waste by farmers in the use of other outputs from the hives, such as beeswax, propolis (bee glue), and pollen.“This, in turn, will enable bee farmers to access local and export markets and earn greater incomes for their effort,” he says.Mr. Murray tells JIS News that he is pleased that the facility will offer packaging services for bee farmers, which will ensure that honey and its by-products are prepared according to international agro food-processing safety standards.The facility has attained Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and related international food-safety certification.In addition, a series of comprehensive agro-processing training, including food safety, sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOP) and equipment maintenance, have been conducted with select community groups.Meanwhile, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says the facility will provide a further boost to the fast-growing beekeeping industry, which provides direct employment for 3,000 families.He notes that the opening of the facility is in keeping with the Ministry’s emphasis on moving primary production of agricultural produce along the value chain towards full commercialisation.“This is my vision, where I want to see us move from just growing the raw material and exporting it. We have to move into the value chain; that is where the money is,” he says.JSIF’s Managing Director, Omar Sweeney, explains that the construction and equipping of the facility was facilitated under the Fund’s Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Project, which has the overall objective to improve market access for micro and small rural agricultural producers.He notes that the facility also affords bee farmers greater competitiveness, attracts new buyers, and allows entry to international markets as well as the opportunity to earn additional revenues from the production of high-quality by-products.The Government, through JSIF, provided funding for the project amounting to $23.3 million, while the Hanover Bee Farmers’ Cooperative Society contributed $3.7 million. Life should get a lot sweeter for more than 200 bee farmers in the western parishes who now have access to a new $27-million state-of-the-art honey-extraction and bottling facility – the first of its kind in Jamaica.last_img read more

Redknapp on Premier League title battle Its a three horse race

first_imgFormer Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp believes that three teams are in the running for this season’s Premier League titleAfter suffering shock back-to-back defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester City this month, Manchester City have slipped from top spot to third in the standings.Pep Guardiola’s side, who won the league crown in such dominant fashion last season, now find themselves seven points adrift of unbeaten leaders Liverpool.Redknapp’s old club Spurs aren’t doing badly either in second-place after beating Everton 6-2 at the weekend and Bournemouth 5-0 on Wednesday to extend their winning run to five matches.“I think it’s a three horse race,” Redknapp told talkSPORT. “Liverpool are the favourites now which is a big turnaround.“But Tottenham are in great form at the moment and they are genuine title contenders.“Spurs are still in it, you can’t write them off. They are bang there, the way they are playing at the moment.”Tammy Abraham, ChelseaChelsea hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham hopes for more Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Tammy Abraham hopes this season will be his big breakthrough at Chelsea after firing his first hat-trick for the club in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Wolves.As for Chelsea and Arsenal, Redknapp doesn’t see how either of them can be considered contenders.“I can’t see anybody else getting into it,” added the 71-year-old.“I watched Arsenal yesterday and they are nowhere near in my opinion.“I know they’ve had injuries, but at the back they are still very poor.“And Chelsea are just so reliant on Eden Hazard. Without him you couldn’t really see them challenging, they’re still short of a frontman.“So really, I think there are three runners and I think it will be very tight.”Meanwhile, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher tipped his old club to take home a first league title in 28 years.last_img read more