In the Media
The Norway funds & Guyana
May 14, 2012
Amid the hysteria whipped up over the cuts to its 2012 budget, it may seem trite to state that it is the government which has failed signally to deliver on the steps that would put the designated sums in its hands for the Low Carbon Development Strategy projects. This stark fact has not however deterred the government from making the most outrageous charges over cuts and blaming the opposition for endangering every single project it can think of. In a way, the opposition’s cuts have inspired the government to try to shift the blame for its abject failure to access the funds which are presently under the stewardship of the World Bank.
It remains a fact that since Guyana and Norway signed a forest protection deal on November 9, 2009 amid much fanfare in a clearing in Fairview that not a single major tranche of the US$70M accrued thus far has been released to Guyana. Moreover, Guyana could be eligible for US$30-40M more this year if the inscribed benchmarks in the MOU between Georgetown and Oslo were met. This would mean at least US$100M parked at the World Bank but out of the reach of the country.
It remains a fact that the government and its technocrats, particularly at the Office of the President and the Ministry of Finance are in complete control of the processes leading up to the approvals for the money. There are no members of the opposition on the committees and teams that the government can blame for retarding progress.
The delay in the release of the Norway funds is a sad commentary on the capacity of the government and its technocrats to discharge obligations which while likely to be unnecessarily bureaucratic are par for the course for countries like Guyana which seek a variety of loans. This failure may be a real indicator of the skills available to these processes, their management and the poor ability to execute.
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Keywords: Amazon, financing, Forest, GRIF, Guyana, Latin America, Norway, REDD