Thursday, August 11, 2022

Guyana government intensifies call for oil not to be seen as the ‘only game in town’

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The Government of Guyana is continuing to place emphasis on the diversification of the economy as part of efforts to ensure the emerging oil and gas sector does not become the sole area of economic activity in the South American country.

From the President to Vice President as well as several Ministers and other officials, the message is clear – oil is not the ‘only game in town’, albeit the biggest.

The most recent call in this regard came from the newly appointed Minister with responsibility for finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, who told members of the business community last week the economic spin-offs from oil and gas will open new opportunities in other sectors of the economy.

“While looking ahead, a lot of growth in the economy will be driven by the oil and gas sector. We place a lot of importance, as a government on ensuring that the economy is diversified, and non-oil sources of growth continue to be very strong,” Dr. Singh was quoted by the Department of Public Information as saying.

It is estimated that with Guyana’s relatively small population and the size of the discovered resources so far, in the order of approximately 9 billion barrels of oil equivalent, the country will eventually have one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Ensuring the development of other sectors is not stymied and overshadowed by oil and gas will be key to staving off the dreaded Dutch Disease.

The Inter-American Development Bank said in a recent paper that Guyana, as a new oil-producing country in a turbulent global energy market, should place much emphasis on navigating the challenges and risks associated with overreliance on the petroleum sector. This, the IDB said, should be central to the country’s long-term development strategy.

Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat, told investors just last month Guyana is open for business and is hoping to diversify and strengthen its traditional sectors. He pointed out that the government will not depend solely on the country’s oil and gas resources. Further, Mr. Bharrat, at that meeting, outlined opportunities available within the mining and forestry sectors for development and value-added activities.

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