Guyana’s President, Dr. Irfaan Ali has reiterated his position that both foreign and domestic investment are pivotal to the country’s development and success and stressed that without this, the country’s resources are useless to its people.
During his address at the opening of the Guyana Basins Summit on Wednesday, March 17, the President said the nation’s natural resources are part of the people’s patrimony, and these resources must be used for and rebound to the benefit of the people of Guyana. “This is the fundamental starting point for the development of our natural resources. The country’s resources, however, are useless to us if they remain unexploited,” he stated.
The natural resources, such as oil and gas, he noted will pave the way for the country’s transformation, and this transformation will in turn be driven “principally by the private sector, local and foreign businesses working in tandem and sometimes in partnership.”
He stated, “Our intention is to work with local and international investors in every dimension of this economy so as to ensure thriving economic sectors over the next five years and beyond. We have made a good start thus far.”
The President emphasized that foreign and local capital is necessary to convert Guyana’s natural resources into wealth and to generate jobs. “As such, Guyana welcomes private investment. Without such investment, we remain poor and vulnerable. Investment remains pivotal to shared prosperity,” he stressed. He acknowledged that the country lacks the scale of financial, technological and human resources needed for its ambitious economic development plans.
“We need investment to drive our development,” he stated, while also assuring that the local private sector will not be undermined.
The President is adamant that he wants the local private sector to become more involved in the planned economic transformation and to grow and develop through synergies and partnerships with foreign businesses. “It is for this reason that we’re developing a draft local content policy and law. This policy and law is not intended to be a disincentive to investment, rather, it is aimed at spurring a stronger and more robust business environment,” he said.
He noted that Guyana will not sacrifice long term benefits for short term gains, and will develop its resources sustainably. “However, neither will we miss the opportunity to maximise gains, especially in instances where only a narrow window exists for such gains to be derived. We have to make the best of the best of times,” he iterated.