–as Guyana gets US$7.2 million line of credit from India
SOME 30,000 households in hinterland communities across the country are set to benefit from solar lighting systems, following the signing of a US$7.2 million Line of Credit (LOC) agreement between the Government of Guyana and Government of India via the Exim Bank.
The signing took place during the celebration of the 57th anniversary of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Day held by the Indian High Commission at the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), on Wednesday.
Signing the agreement on behalf of Guyana was Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, while Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr. K. J. Srinivasa signed on behalf of India.
LOC agreements are a component of the ITEC programme, which also includes training and capacity building courses for residents of the 161 countries where ITEC is implemented.
Over 600 Guyanese have since benefitted from opportunities to study at various institutions across India through the ITEC programme.
Thanking the High Commissioner and the Government of India for the funding provided, Minister Singh said the initiative will bring joy to families in hinterland communities.
“Consider for a moment the difference it will make to people’s lives to enjoy electricity for the first time in their homes. For those 30,000 families, delivering electricity to their homes for the first time will be the single biggest thing to happen to them in an entire generation,” Dr. Singh said.
He acknowledged the longstanding diplomatic relationship between Guyana and India, and highlighted how the ITEC programme has been a vehicle to strengthen that bond between the two nations.
“ITEC has provided remarkable opportunities for Guyanese professionals to obtain world class international training exposure and remarkable experience that could only have enhanced their ability to serve in Guyana and contribute to development, and benefitted development of their own world view. Needless to say, the ITEC programme is only one aspect of Guyana’s vast cooperation agenda with India over the years,” Dr. Singh said.
With Guyana now an oil producing nation which places immense focus on aligning human resources with the country’s development trajectory, Dr. Singh said that programmes such as the training offered under the ITEC programme are all the more important.
“ITEC will have an extremely important role to play, as we traverse the path of rapidly building the human capital that we will need, given the changes that will be taking place in Guyana in the months ahead,” Dr. Singh said.
During his opening remarks, Dr. Srinivasa also commended the great relations between Guyana and India in the mutual development of the two nations.
“Guyana has been an important partner for India. India, since 1947, has remained committed as a steadfast and reliable developmental partner to Guyana,” Dr. Srinivasa said.
Fully funded by the Government of India, the ITEC programme was started in September 1964 as a bilateral programme of assistance from the Government of India. Today, the programme is available in 161 countries across the world.
ITEC is considered as a conduit to share India’s vast and unique experience of growth and development through capacity building and training.
Courses under ITEC provide a wide and diverse range of skills and disciplines such as agriculture, irrigation, information technology and telecommunications, finance and accounts, among others.
Several prominent Guyanese would have benefitted from training under this programme, including Guyana’s President, Dr. Irfaan Ali.
Also in attendance at Wednesday’s ceremony were the Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand; Minister of Public Service, Sonia Parag, as well as the wife of the Prime Minister Mignon Bowen-Phillips, who herself is a ITEC alumnus.
Giving brief remarks, Bowen-Phillips shared her experiences as an ITEC participant, when she did a six-week course in India.
“Exciting is the adjective I would use to describe my six-week programme in India. My experiences in India will remain with me forever,” she said.
Several other Guyanese ITEC alumni were also present at the anniversary ceremony and shared their unique experiences with studying and travelling under the programme.
Several other members of the diplomatic community were also present at Wednesday’s event, including US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, and British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller.