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Close to US$100 million in shore base investments stalled in recent years – Vickram Bharrat

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Improving the ease of doing business in the new oil producing country of Guyana is on the radar of the new government as it looks to expand investments in oil and gas as well as other sectors of the economy.

Vickram Bharrat

“We need to make doing business in Guyana easier, remove some of the red tape for some of these companies coming to invest,” Vickram Bharrat, Minister of Natural Resources, recently told OilNOW.

He said the emerging oil and gas industry is creating significant investment opportunities in the South American country and companies are in some cases lined up looking to get the requisite approvals so that they can start operations.

“When we took office, they had about nine or eight shore base companies that were basically stalled,” he pointed out. “We’re talking about close to 100 million US dollars in investment that’s basically stalled either by Central Housing and Planning, either by the City Council or either by the NDC [Neighbourhood Democratic Council] on Region 3’s side.”

The new People’s Progressive Party Civic-led government took up office on August 2 following the March 2, 2020 elections and a five month delay in a declaration of the results.

Mr. Bharrat said the number of agencies that companies need to go through when seeking approval to embark on business ventures has been contributing to the sloth in approvals and this in turn has been curtailing investments.

The World Bank ranks Guyana at 134 out of 190 countries in its Doing Business 2020 report signaling the country still has a very far way to go in improving the regulatory environment for starting up and operating a business.

According to the report it takes nearly six times as long on average to start a business in the economies ranked in the bottom 50, such as Guyana, as in the top 20. Guyana also scored poorly in areas such as resolving insolvency (163/190), dealing with construction permits (167/190), registering property (128/190) and paying taxes (122/190).

“The ease of people doing business in Guyana, especially these big investments coming in that will obviously create employment and generate revenue through taxes for us, has to be improved,” Mr. Bharrat stated.

Guyana’s offshore operations are currently supported by majority Guyanese-owned port company – Guyana Shore Base Inc. (GYSBI). The increasing exploration and production activities offshore will require more of these types of facilities in the coming years.

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