Minister fears small businesses have not grasped magnitude of coming oil bonanza

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Dominic Gaskin, Guyana's Minister of Business

Guyana’s Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, said businesses that understand where the country is going over the next two decades will make better decisions than those that do not.

He was at the time delivering remarks at the opening of the inaugural Green Guyana Expo and International Small Business Summit at the Princess Ramada International Hotel, Providence, East Bank Demerara on Thursday, October 18.

He noted that, “One of my biggest fears is that many small businesses have not yet grasped the magnitude of what is taking place in the petroleum sector and are therefore not planning for the inevitable and exponential increase in the demand across most sectors of Guyana’s economy.”

The Minister, while adding that it is important for small businesses in Guyana to pay closer attention, said it is no doubt that small businesses will be impacted significantly by what is going to happen in the oil and gas sector.

He explained that, “I am not advocating for you to take unnecessary risks, but putting in place good business practices. For instance, preparing yourself to meet the requirements of the banks, as onerous as it may seem, is just one of many steps that small businesses can take to be in a better position to do businesses two years from now.”

Additionally, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, said with first oil expected in early 2020, events such as the Green Expo are necessary to push the government’s developmental agenda.

“This event is being held at a time when the Government is altering or otherwise shifting national policies and investments to reflect a green development agenda,” he stated.

In brief remarks, Head of the United Nations Environment Programme, Leo Heileman, added that “Guyana has a unique opportunity. If managed correctly oil revenues can reduce constraints to economic growth, boost social development and safeguard environmental assets of the future.”

However, he added that this is not guaranteed until there is sound fiscal and monetary policies must guide the effort to ensure that the benefits reach the entire population.

The Green Guyana Expo was held under the theme, “Sustainable Economic Growth through small business innovation entrepreneur and transformative Government policies.” The event, which concluded on Saturday, was held at the Providence National Stadium on the East Bank of Demerara. CGX Energy Inc was the lead sponsor.