World Bank approves US$16.8M for social services, growth

Stabroek News
December 18, 2002

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The World Bank yesterday approved two zero-interest credits worth a total of US$16.76M to support Guyana's implementation of its poverty reduction strategy.

The decision came following a review of Guyana's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) by the Bank's Executive Board in September.

The Bank is financing the country's implementation of its PRSP by lending a total of $25 million (20 million SDRs) in zero-interest credits aimed at reducing poverty in the country during the years 2002-05, a release from the World Bank, Latin America and Caribbean Region said yesterday.

The two International Development Association (IDA) credits aim to achieve three of Guyana's key objectives in poverty reduction, including stimulating economic growth, strengthening governance, public sector capacity and accountability, and providing the poor with improved access to health care and education, the release stated.

The US$12 million IDA credit carries a grace period of ten years with thirty years to maturity, while the US$4.76 million IDA credit has a ten-year grace period with forty years to maturity.

The release also informed that the US$12 million Poverty Reduction Strategy Credit (PRSC) will support the government's ability to implement its reform programme as outlined in the country's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper.

The PRSC will support key objectives of the strategy, including stimulating economic growth and increasing productivity in key sectors such as sugar; improving accountability and transparency in the public sector; and enhancing the delivery of public services, including health, education and water supply.

And the US$4.76 million Public Sector Technical Assistance Credit is intended to help the authorities here to strengthen their institutional capacity to manage, monitor and evaluate the country's progress in implementing its poverty reduction strategy programme.

At the same time, this technical assistance credit will strengthen the country's financial and fiduciary management in areas such as revenue collection, procurement administration, and strengthening the effectiveness of social safety net programmes.

The release also quoted Director of the World Bank's programme in the Caribbean, Orsalia Kalantzopoulos, as saying that "Guyana's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper calls for a more efficient and transparent public sector as a means to achieving greater growth and reducing poverty."

According to the director, "these credits will help the country free up additional revenue to provide the poor with greater access to education and health services and put the country in a position to achieve the Millennium Development Goals."

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