— Minister Singh tells Guyana Basins Summit participants
DURING his keynote and welcome address on Thursday at the Guyana Basins Summit, which is being held virtually under the theme, ‘Driving Investment, Growth & Prosperity across the Guyana-Suriname Basin’, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh stated that Guyana is today one of the most attractive investment destinations, not just in this hemisphere but worldwide.
The minister explained that since assuming office, the Government of Guyana has been taking a number of key steps, and implementing policies to restore confidence, and ensure that Guyana is an attractive destination for investors, potential investors, and visitors.
“First of all, this government is firmly committed to democracy, constitutionality, and the rule of law. Despite the challenges of 2020, which were visible for the entire world to see, democracy prevailed, and a government that is firmly committed to respecting and adhering strictly to democratic norms and standards of behaviour was eventually able to assume office. To potential investors coming to any country, it is of paramount importance to know that the host country is one that respects the rule of law, not least because the rule of law is so essential to the predictability of the investment climate and the environment for doing business,” the Senior Finance Minister posited. Next, the minister referenced his government’s commitment to maintaining strong macro-economic fundamentals, since such an environment would also be critical to the investment climate.
“We recognise the importance of strong, sustainable, broad-based real economic growth, driven not only by the oil sector, but also by a strong non-oil economy, including agriculture, agro-processing and food production, given our vast capacity for large-scale agriculture; tourism and hospitality, given the remarkable endowment of nature: Amazonian rainforest, flora, fauna, spectacular rivers, waterfalls, etc., given our strategic location with overland access to both Brazil and Suriname, and close connections with the rest of the Caribbean,” Dr. Singh emphasised.
Beyond productive diversification to ensure economic resilience, the minister said that ensuring a stable and predictable macroeconomic environment is also the government’s aim, including low inflation, exchange and interest rate stability and competitiveness, prudent fiscal management, and ensuring debt sustainability into the medium and longer term.
The senior finance minister then outlined some of the measures that the government intends to take to avoid the perils other countries have encountered, such as the risk of the Dutch Disease.
“Thirdly, we are currently embarking on an agenda for rapid transformation of the supportive infrastructure that is absolutely critical for doing business. In particular, transport infrastructure; roads and bridges, including for international connectivity, as well as to ensure ease of domestic access, energy infrastructure to ensure the availability of affordable and reliable electricity, as well as information and communications technology, recognising how important connectivity is to doing business,” Minister Singh said. Fourthly, the minister said that the government is also working assiduously to invest heavily in human capital, through injecting financing to allow for a highly skilled and educated workforce, which is critical to reducing the cost of doing business. He also highlighted the government’s heavy investment in the social sector, including education at all levels, and in developing a world-class public healthcare system, while at the same time implementing policies to promote private investment in these sectors.
Finally, the minister outlined the government’s aggressive agenda to strengthen and modernise government and business institutions, in order to ensure investors doing business in Guyana are able to interface with government services efficiently.
The senior finance minister, in wrapping up his address, also highlighted other relevant factors, including Guyana’s strategic location, with advantageous links to Brazil and Suriname and the Caribbean, pointing out that investors based in Guyana would have easy access to a market space much larger than the domestic Guyanese market, highlighting also that Guyana is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and the home of the community’s secretariat.
The minister concluded by emphasising Guyana’s overall attractiveness as an investment destination, and reiterated the government’s unwavering commitment to ensuring that Guyana remains a premier destination for investment. (Ministry of Finance release)