Guyana plans to create new telecom development fund

22 Jul 2016

Guyana’s recently approved Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill 2016 includes measures for the establishment of a fund to bankroll the expansion of networks into unserved areas. Demerara Waves quotes Minister of State Joseph Harmon as saying that: ‘Where you have unserved communities that do not have the benefit of telecommunications services…where the telecommunications provider[s] do not consider it economically feasible to carry the services there, this is what the fund will be used for.’ Mr Harmon did not specify how the funds would be raised, however, nor which ministry or agency would be responsible for managing the finances.

The official made the comments in response to objections that the government planned to use money earmarked for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) to finance ICT initiatives in Guyana’s hinterland. Mr Harmon defended the government’s plan to use money from the Guyana REDD Investment Fund (GRIF), saying that it was a short term measure, until the new telecom fund could be established: ‘We don’t believe we can postpone the development of these communities in any way by waiting on what is going to come in.’