Guyana’s Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud said the new oil producing nation must use some of the revenue from its vast hydrocarbon resources to bolster other export-oriented sectors of the economy.
The South American emerging oil giant has already benefited from three entitlement lifts earning almost $150 million in oil sales receipts and royalties from production at the Liza Phase 1 development which began last December.
Speaking recently to stakeholders from both the public and private sectors at a National Validation Workshop for the revised National Trade Strategy, the minister noted that while the emerging oil and gas sector will change the economic outlook for the country, the traditional economic sectors must not be forsaken. He said the new stream of revenue generated can be used to bolster the productivity and competitiveness of traditional trade sectors as well as new tradable products.
Presently in the draft stage, the strategy aims to provide an overarching vision of the principles and procedures necessary for the long-term development of Guyana’s trade policy and is key to ensuring that the foreign trade program remains relevant to the current issues affecting trade, both domestically and multilaterally. Once finalized, the National Trade Strategy is expected to be launched later this year.
“We need to balance the gains from the oil and gas sector with the development of other export sectors, albeit on the basis of oil revenues so that we allow for sustainable development, new export products, and services to arise with the ability to compete in multiple lucrative markets,” the Foreign Secretary stated.
Guyana’s traditional sectors of mining, agriculture, fisheries and forestry have been key to the country’s development over the decades. However, there is concern that with the advent of oil revenues, the traditional sectors can become uncompetitive – known as the Resource Curse – if not effectively managed.
Despite the shock in oil prices earlier this year and the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Guyana’s economy is projected to grow by 53 percent for 2020 and is expected to be in the double digits for 2021.