Basic Needs Trust Fund launches new phase
--- finances 283 projects to date By Mark Ramotar
Guyana Chronicle
February 27, 2004

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Finance Minister Sasenarine Kowlessar (at the podium) addressing yesterday launching of the Basic Needs Trust Fund workshop at the Cara Inn.

FINANCE Minister Sasenarine Kowlessar yesterday alluded to fact that Government has embarked on a systematic plan of action to meet poverty reduction targets and accelerate the development process outlined in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP).

BNTF V is jointly funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Addressing a high-profile ceremony to launch the fifth phase of the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) project at the Cara Inn, Pere Street, Kitty, Minister Kowlessar noted that Government's drive to improved access of social services and improved infrastructural development are continuously being pursued. He said that structural reforms have complemented efforts to reduce poverty and enhance growth and development.

BNTF is a social inclusive programme and targets development of the poor, and is part of Guyana's overall PRSP. Minister Kowlessar also disclosed that BNTF V will go a long way in ensuring that Guyana's poverty reduction strategy becomes a reality and is successful. He noted that Guyana stands committed to the Millennium Development Goals to halve poverty by 2015. BNTF projects started in Guyana in 1993 and to date 283 projects have been realized.

As part of the project's activities, a two-day workshop is currently on, ending tomorrow.

Sectors to benefit from BNTF V are skills education, health, water, drainage systems and training. BNTF V allows for more resources to be allocated to projects, than was previously allocated in BNTF Three and Four.

Guyana is the first of 10 Caribbean nations to begin implementation of the BNTF V. Also present at the launching ceremony were Project Manager, BNTF, Davindra Jaglall; Portfolio Manager, Project Supervision Division CDB, Nizamuddeen Ameerally; and other CIDA and CDB representatives.