–Finance Minister tells diaspora
GUYANA is undergoing a period of transformation, prompted by massive oil and gas finds offshore Guyana, and Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh told members of the diaspora that there are opportunities for them to invest in every sector of economic activity.
While addressing one of the breakout rooms during the inaugural virtual diaspora engagement conference on Saturday, Dr. Singh said that in addition to the developments occurring in the burgeoning oil and gas sector, there are “remarkable prospects” in the other sectors of the economy.
“We recognise the paramount importance of ensuring that there is a large, strong, competitive, growing non-oil economy, and our government is placing a lot of emphasis not only on oil and gas and facilitating what is happening in the oil and gas sector, but our government is placing a tremendous emphasis on ensuring that we put in place the conditions that would be conducive to, and facilitative of, a strong and vibrantly growly non-oil economy,” the Senior Minister said.
This focus on development in the non-oil economy, he explained, is due to the cognisance of other countries’ experiences with a nascent oil and gas sector, and how they succumbed to the devastating ‘Dutch Disease’.
The Dutch Disease, as explained by Trinidadian Senior Economist, Dr. Roger Hosein, is the relationship between the increase in the economic development of a specific sector such as oil and gas, and the accompanying decline in other sectors of its economy.
And with the focus on ensuring that the non-oil economy remains competitive, Dr. Singh said that there are many opportunities for Guyanese living abroad to come back and invest in.
“We see agriculture, agro-processing and agribusiness as an extremely important source of growth in the economy; an important sector in which we anticipate significant investment, and from which we expect significant growth in the non-oil sector,” he said.
He also indicated that the tourism and hospitality sectors, and those sectors closely aligned to them, as well as the transport, communications and logistics sectors are other areas with wide scope for development. There is also scope in value-added manufacturing, he said, outlining that the government aims to provide cheap and reliable energy, which has been a major impediment to the advancement of the manufacturing sector.
While noting that there are many other areas for investment, he underscored, “In literally every sector of economic activity, there are opportunities for investment and opportunities for growth, and at a governmental level, we are prioritising and emphasising the importance of growth in the non-oil sector.”
As such, he called upon the diaspora to invest their resources in Guyana, and underscored that Guyana is finally on the cusp of the transformation that has been talked about for decades.