China’s Ambassador to Guyana Zhang Jungao and Singh signed the agreement which amounts to approximately $1.2 billion. The ceremony took place in the boardroom of the Finance Ministry. Singh said that now the agreement has been signed the two parties will have to decide on the priority projects.
When questioned as to the broad areas which the resources will be poured into, Singh declined to specify but said that most likely the resources will go into “priority areas already discussed.” Consequently, sectors like agriculture; particularly in the areas of training, and the health sector are likely to benefit based on this criteria, the Minister suggested.
Quizzed as to how soon it will take for these areas to be identified, Singh said he could not give a definite answer, but stressed that discussions on the issue will “be advanced immediately“. He, however, emphasized that the grant agreement and the projects that it will assist in executing will have a significant impact on the country’s development agenda.
Ambassador Jungao said that this latest agreement represents the ongoing partnership between China and Guyana which goes back thirty years. He said that during this time the two nations have had a healthy relationship which has benefitted both nations. The Ambassador noted that China has partnered with Guyana in several projects and according to Jungao, for the past five years the Chinese government has provided funding for the Guyana Government in excess of US$32 million.
A statement from the Ministry of Finance noted that “In 2005, Guyana benefited from a Chinese concessional loan which was used to construct a co-generation plant at Berbice to enhance the productivity at the Skeldon Sugar Factory.
Further, in September of 2008, His Excellency, President (Bharrat) Jagdeo and the Minister of Finance, the Honourable Dr. Ashni Singh, visited China and a Memorandum of Understanding was concluded to initiate the processing of a concessional loan to benefit the power sector. This loan will assist in financing the development and expansion of the Transmission and Distribution System (T&D) of the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated Limited. Construction works on this system is expected to commence in 2010.”
In addition, two roll-on-roll-off ferries which are currently being built in China under an assistance programme will be pressed into service in Essequibo. The vessels are expected to arrive before the end of 2011.