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JEDDAH (Saudi Arabia) — Suriname and Guyana are expected to participate in the 40th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign ministers meeting, which begins Monday in Conakry, Guinea, under the theme: Dialogue of Civilizations: Factor of Peace and Sustainable Development.
Dr Anwar S. Lall Mohamed, ambassador-at-large and coordinator of OIC affairs, will represent Suriname on behalf of foreign minister Winston Lackin, who is in South Africa. Guyanese foreign minister, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, who was in Indonesia last week to attend the ninth World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting, will be in Conakry to attend the OIC meeting.
There will be a special ministerial session on the city of Jerusalem “to seek practical steps towards addressing the Israeli policies and plans aimed at Judaising the Holy City and dividing Al Aqsa Mosque,” according to an OIC press statement. The agenda will also focus on the conflict in Syria, the situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar after the recent visit of a ministerial delegation to that country, the Moro Muslims in the southern Philippines, the establishment of new OIC regional offices in non-member states, and the appointment of assistant secretaries-general.
WASHINGTON–Suriname will modernize its revenue management and improve tax collection in the medium and long-term with a US$20 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
This is the first of three programmatic policy-based loans supporting the country’s reform agenda for the fiscal sector, the bank said in a press release. This loan will complement the Bank supported public expenditure reforms currently underway. This program will lay the foundation for a modern revenue system through the improvement of its tax policy and tax and customs administration.
The project will support measures to develop clear and concise tax legislation, introduce modern regulations and streamline processes to cut compliance costs for the tax payer and improve taxpayer services. The project will also help modernize customs to facilitate trade and increase revenue by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Customs Administration.
Measures supported by the project include training and improvement of customs procedures as well as the creation of an electronic platform that will enable data to be shared among different government agencies.
The IDB loan has a 20-year maturity, a 5.5-year grace period and an interest rate based on LIBOR
PARAMARIBO–Chantal Doekhie who has headed Suriname’s embassy in the Netherlands for the past year-and-a-half will formally be accredited on December 11th, 2013. This news that may serve as a another tangible signal that the Netherlands wants to thaw its relationship with Suriname, comes just days after the Kingdom Ministers approved the appointment of charge d’affaires Ernst Noorman as ambassador in Paramaribo. But while the Netherlands finally seems ready to accredit Doekhie, Suriname’s Foreign Ministry has hinted that accrediting Noorman is not on top of Government’s priority list.
Relations between Suriname and its former colonizer froze up in 2012, after the National Assembly passed an amendment to the amnesty laws that could see President Desi Bouterse and 24 fellow suspects pardoned for their role in the December 8 killings of 15 citizens. The amendment indefinitely derailed the hearings in the trial of the December 8 murders, in which Bouterse was the main suspect.
PARAMARIBO–Gold miner IAMGOLD has announced that it will develop and operate a solar power project in Suriname. “The project will help meet the electricity requirements of the mine in district Brokopondo and at the same time free up power for use by other customers in Suriname, the company said in a press release.
The release said the solar installation will produce five megawatts; it will cost IAMGOLD about $14 million, including site access and preparation. It is slated to be operational from the beginning of the third quarter of 2014. “IAMGOLD is fulfilling a prior commitment to the Government of Suriname through this green project,” the release said.
Canada headquartered IAMGOLD since 2006 operates the profitable Gros Rosebel gold mine. In April this year the company signed a new agreement with Government, which cut IAMGOL’s 90 percent stake to 70, and effectively made Government a partner in Rosebel Gold Mines NV, the joint company that operates the mine in district Brokopondo, where in 2011 some 385,000 ounces of gold was produced.
AMSTERDAM—An Amsterdam based minter, arrested by police last week, was apparently living the high life while ducking from creditors, and reneging on promises he was making to clients, among them the Central Bank of Suriname CBvS. “Patrick Onel always dined in the finest restaurants and liked to be around beautiful women,” a North Holland website says, quoting a source. But it seems there was a dark side to the minter that eventually landed him in jail last week, and now his big clients, including the CBvS, are beginning to jump ship.
Onel was taken into custody with his business partner on November 7th following a raid of their company, European Central Mint (ECM), by the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service FIOD. ECM did business with pension funds and investors, and O. had a deal with the CBvS to produce gold bullion. The Amsterdam West offices of ECM were closed down following the raid. Armed police officers were spotted keeping guard while FIOD agents gutted the minting factory.
PARAMARIBO–Acting Finance Minister Steven Relyveld on Monday signed the agreement for a US$ 4.8 million loan from the People’s Republic China. The signing ceremony with China ambassador Yang Zigang took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the watchful eye of Foreign Minister Winston Lackin, the Ministry said in a press release. The Foreign Ministry said that the interest free (RMB Yuan 30.000.000) loan will be added to the financing of several ongoing projects and loans that China has awarded.
PARAMARIBO–Monument Walking Guide Paramaribo, the newest publication by Vaco features descriptions of more than 40 monuments in the center of Paramaribo, all within walking distance and in sequential order. It contains background details such as that in 1750, the center of the current Domineestraat was one of the borders of the city of Paramaribo? And that the Valliant’s square arose after the city fire of 1821, as an open space to prevent flames from leaping over during fires. “It is very informative for locals as well as tourists. Finally a guide packed with information about these beautiful monuments,” Vaco writes in a press release .
The book features facts and many historic as well as architectural details about each monument in Paramaribo, as well as their current functions, accompanied by detailed illustrations. “The reader acquires an often unique ‘behind the scenes’ portrait of the monuments,” Vaco writes. The bilingual (Dutch/English) publication features a map on the back that takes the reader on a five-kilometer walking route. The publication also contains an introduction into the development of the city of Paramaribo. “Due to the handy format, the book is easy to bring along on a city walk.”
PARAMARIBO–Suriname’s economy may have “strengthened markedly” during the past decade due to high prices for gold and other commodities it exports, but its government’s finances “weakened substantially” last year, the International Monetary Fund has found.
And while commodity exports have fueled growth — Suriname’s gross domestic product expanded by an estimated 4.75 percent last year — this trend may not necessarily continue, the IMF stated in an Oct. 18 press release. “While export volumes for gold grew strongly, they were anemic for the other two main commodities — oil and aluminum,” the release stated.
PARAMARIBO–The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved two loans totaling US$40 million to support Suriname’s power sector: a US$30 million loan for upgrades and a US$ 10 million loan that will be used to transit into sustainability, a press release from the Bank said. Both loans have a 20 year payback term.
The release explained that the first loan of US$30 million will support the country’s plans to improve the quality and reliability of the local electricity service, bring 24-hour access to electricity to some locations in the Hinterland, and reduce the use of fossil fuels. It will upgrade critical infrastructure and information systems of national electricity company EBS’ power operator, as well as finance works to expand the electricity grid and renewable energy production. This loan has a 7,5 year grace period.
PARAMARIBO—A disruption in the main fiber optic from Trinidad and Tobago caused a telecommunications outage in Suriname Wednesday. The disruption also caught Guyana and people in both South American countries were unable to connect to the Internet or make overseas calls for several hours on Wednesday.
In Suriname neither national telecommunications company Telesur nor privately owned telephone companies, were able to provide internet and international phone service. Service was restored around 1.00pm. Several companies in Suriname said the disruption caused their operations much hassle. “Even one hour without internet is a lot,” one manager commented.