US$900M loan…warns Govt over staking debt on oil sectorThe recent US$900 million loan taken by the Government from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is a source of deep concern; as Guyana’s debt portfolio is slated to take a sharp hike.This is according to the Opposition’s economic advisor, Peter Ramsaroop. However, while an agreement has reportedly not yet been inked, he on Friday expressed worry over plans to borrow such huge sums.“It is clear. The Guyana Government has now begun to borrow enormous sums of money based on a promise of oil revenues. Every advisor, including the Leader of the political Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, has consistently warned this Administration against contracting unsustainable loans based on the promise of an extremely volatile export – crude.”“There is no other reason the Islamic Development Bank would front Guyana US$900 million – a country with a proven track record of the inability to spend farFinance Minister Winston Jordanless in a given year – now, to spend on a work programme to be completed between this year and 2020, seems far-fetched,” he pointed out.For perspective, Ramsroop made reference to the state of the art Skeldon Sugar factory which cost US$100 million.“The Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project – a project that would have revolutionised this country was projected to cost US$800 million. The David Granger Government railed against this project saying taking on such a high loan and raising the legislative debt ceiling guarantees for Government was excessive and would have been a burden on this nation for ages to come.”It was announced that the IsDB has, for the period 2018 to 2020, committed to providing Guyana with financial and technical assistance to the tune of US$900 million. This, it was made known, would be directed into the country’s key development areas to assist with its plans for continued social and economic development.This disclosure was made by Finance Minister Winston Jordan during his address at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the IsDB Group in Tunisia. According to the Minister, this money will aid Government’s plans in a meaningful way, as it would give direct support to several Government programmes in many developmental areas.Economist Peter Ramsaroop“The Bank fielded a programming mission in December 2017, where a work programme for the three-year period 2018-2020 was formalised. Financing and technical assistance of about US$900 million will be directed to key development areas; including economic infrastructure, rural development, human development, and trade and competitiveness,” the Minister explained.Jordan claimed that Government has been steadfast in its resolve to ensure growth in the economy. That resolve, according to him, resulted in economic growth averaging about three per cent between 2015 and 2017.