President Irfaan Ali has announced that Government and Demerara Bank will collaborate to make available a $900m revolving fund to increase the production of the forestry sector.
A statement from the President's office said the announcement was made during a Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) stakeholders' engagement at the GFC Kingston office.
With this fund more emphasis will be placed on the development and expansion of small and medium-scale loggers and community loggers associations.
"We are now going to unleash $900m for the market to step up production, so that we can meet the demand, especially for the value-added product, and to push the sector, to give this sector a real boost because we are very concerned about the production level and where it should be to meet our national demand in the markets that we're building."
This partnership will see Government contributing $300m while Demerara Bank will cover the remaining $600m.
Loans from this fund will attract an "unbelievable" interest rate of 4%.
The Head of State explained that the Government will work along with the bank to prequalify persons based on recommendations from the GFC. After which, a system will be put in place to give access to "bridge financing" in order to increase cash flow toward production.
He emphasised that his Government is committed to supporting small, medium and community-based loggers but that there must be "clarity, good governance, transparency, accountability and a system that works".
The Government would also continue to invest in infrastructure and encourage loggers to do their part in "accelerating the sector". This, he said, is aimed at increasing production because he "is not happy with the production that we're having now".
(Extracted and Modified from Office of The President Press Statement)