Guyana Denies Borrowing Millions from Islamic Development Bank

Winston Jordan

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The Guyana government has dismissed reports
that it has borrowed GUY$900 million from the Islamic Development Bank
(ISDB) even as it has acknowledged that the Saudi Arabian-based financial
institution has provided government with its largest ever resource envelope.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan said that the “resource envelope” has not
been accessed by the David Granger government.

“As I said, it’s a resource envelope. We will have to go through all the due
diligence before we can access even a small part of it,” Jordan told reporters.

He said essentially new borrowing by the government, from May 2015 to
December 31, 2017, is under US$210 million including a US$45.2 million loan
from China, US$50 million from India for road development projects.

Jordan was critical of some sections of the media in Guyana saying “the
message is rather than carrying stories to scare, I want you to keep this
(information) so you can refer to it constantly when people are attempting to
frighten the public into believing that the government is borrowing its way and
leaving burdens for future generations. The facts speak for themselves.”

He said that the ISDB’s offer is available to Guyana for specific
developmental sectors. These include energy, agriculture, rural development,
human development, banking, and finance. It is the largest resource envelope
ever made available to Guyana from any multilateral agency.

A government statement said that membership of ISDB, a multilateral lender
dominated by Muslim-majority states including Saudi Arabia and Iran, will give
Guyana access to loans at concessionary rates. “In the long term, it could
also encourage banks and companies from the Gulf and southeast Asia to do
business in Guyana,” the statement added. – CMC