Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, has assured that progress is being made when it comes to reducing the US$170M Guyana owes to several countries.
The economist during an interview with Kaieteur News said, “…We are close to concluding a debt reduction agreement with Kuwait. We recently established contact with Libya and are in the early stages of reconciling the outstanding debt.
“In the case of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), we have put a proposal to them and are awaiting a response.”
Similarly, the Finance Minister said that the Ministry tried to engage Argentina over the past year, but has not received a reply on this matter.
Finally, since engaging Serbia in 2017, Jordan said that the Ministry has not heard from that country. He noted nonetheless that efforts would continue to be pursued for debt reduction from them.
GUYANA’S FISCAL STANCE
In spite of the expected gains to come from the petroleum sector, the coalition Government has said that it will continue to manage the nation’s debt in a most prudent manner.
Specifically making this point was the Finance Minister during his 2019 budget speech. The economist said that the Government will maintain a moderate risk of debt distress and, in this regard, will undertake not to borrow at rates that could compromise the country’s fiscal stance.
In addition to this, Jordan reminded that the public debt legislation is currently being drafted and is expected to be laid in the House in 2019.
He said, too, that the Government will prioritize the crafting of a national debt strategy and an annual borrowing plan, which together, will define the optimal mix of financing mechanisms in the short-to-medium term, for the funding of development initiatives.
In tandem with the aforementioned, the Finance Minister reminded that the Government has also published a Public Private Partnership Policy Framework, in 2018. He noted that this presents a structured framework within which the Government can pursue new options of financing that would reduce the need to incur significant debt.
Jordan said that this Framework would guide, in an open and transparent manner, how government will engage with the private sector in the provision of public goods for mutual benefit.
Further to this, Jordan said that the Government is preparing a roadmap to develop the country’s institutional, technical, financial, environmental and business expertise to engage private sector partners. In Budget 2019, he said that the Government has allocated $100 million to support this initiative.
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