US$44M pact signed to bolster human capital
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From left: Education Minister, Priya Manickchand; Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh and World Bank Resident Representative to Guyana, Diletta Doretti
From left: Education Minister, Priya Manickchand; Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh and World Bank Resident Representative to Guyana, Diletta Doretti

Senior Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, has re-emphasised government’s commitment to ensuring every Guyanese is able to participate in the economic transformation the country is experiencing as well as be able to contribute meaningfully to the transformation.

Dr Singh made the remarks as he signed a US$44M Human Capital Development agreement with the World Bank which will see Guyana strengthening its Human Capital through this major project under the education sector.

Witnessing the signing and receiving the project for implementation was Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, while signing on behalf of the World Bank was World Bank Resident Representative to Guyana, Diletta Doretti. The signing occurred at the Ministry of Finance in the presence of technical teams from both the Ministries of Finance and Education.

“We are signing this US$44M project on Human Capital Development today as a significant part of a much broader and comprehensive policy agenda relating to investment in the people of Guyana. There is a lot of understandable excitement and anticipation about the rapid transformation that our country is going through – the economic and structural transformation. There is a lot of excitement about what’s happening in the oil and gas sector, what’s happening in the support services sector, what’s happening in the non-oil economy,” Dr. Singh posited.

He then underscored that, as such, with all of these developments the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Government, under the leadership of President Ali, believes that there is no investment that is more important at this time than an investment in Guyanese to meet the skills and education needs of these sectors.

VERY DIFFERENT WORKFORCE
“The reality is that a very different workforce is going to be needed in the near future to meet the needs of this new economy,” Dr. Singh explained as he alluded to the fact that the immediate link of various developments in different sectors may not be seen immediately by persons in terms of the wholistic approach and objective by government.

“Sometimes it is not obvious how the various pieces fit together so you might see something happening in one sector and you believe that it might not be obvious how the pieces come together. I want to give just one example: So we are investing heavily in education, but we want to make sure that jobs are created for Guyanese people so that the Guyanese people who have acquired these new skills are able to take up those jobs, be able to access those job opportunities,” the minister explained further.

He then added that, “You might see for example an initiative that might appear to relate to the Natural Resources sector — the Local Content Legislation — the LCL establishes a very explicit framework to incentivise companies that are operating in Guyana, not only oil and gas companies but their contractors.

“It creates a framework that explicitly incentivises employment of Guyanese people because we want to create jobs for Guyanese people and so the framework requires that in order for your company’s supply of goods or services to be considered local content for the purposes of meeting the local content thresholds, the minimum thresholds that are specified in that law, you have to have a minimum percentage of Guyanese employees.”

Dr. Singh further reiterated, “so on the surface, the nexus between that and education might not be obvious but if you think about it, there is a very explicit link between local content requirements in the oil and gas sector and the need to invest in ensuring the Guyanese people can take up the job opportunities that are going to be created and so this project is an important investment that fits into that broader agenda-Investment in Human Capital.”

KEY JUNCTURE
World Bank Representative for Guyana and Suriname, Diletta Doretti in her remarks noted that Guyana is investing heavily in its citizens, with education and vocational training playing a key role as the country is at a key juncture of its growth.

“This project complements other education initiatives that the World Bank is supporting, as the government is working to ensure that more people can acquire the needed skills to benefit from the ongoing economic transformation,” she added.

Meanwhile, Minister Singh thanked the World Bank Representative and her team for their support as well as for taking special interest in the project. He also expressed gratitude to the technical teams from both the Finance and Education Ministries for their hard work at developing and designing the project.

The objective of the project is to improve access and learning conditions in secondary education, as well as access to technical and vocational education and training aligned with identified labour market needs. The proposed project would support the government’s secondary education reform agenda and its objective of achieving universal secondary education.

It would support different trajectories and modalities of obtaining an education by incorporating interventions addressing constraints related to access, quality, and relevance to help youth in Guyana reach their full potential and participate productively in the economy.

(Ministry of Finance)

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