Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat remains adamant that though there is widespread excitement about the rapid growth of oil and gas development in the country, Guyana will not allow itself to fall prey to the Dutch Disease by neglecting other sectors.
Mr. Bharrat, who has responsibility for petroleum, reinforced this policy of the Guyana government when he gave an address at a Rice University forum in Houston, Texas last week.
“We don’t want to be seen as the oil and gas country alone because there’s so many other natural resources that we have in country. It has been a priority of our President that we look at the non-oil sectors, especially to avoid the Dutch Disease,” Bharrat said.
Many countries have gone down that road, Bharrat explained, and Guyana is seeing the consequences that it is having on them today.
In reference to recent statements made by Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, Mr. Bharrat said, “There was so much criticism, but Trinidad is in the state it is in today because of the neglect of the traditional productive sectors for oil and gas, and we have seen the state of their economy today.”
Dr. Jagdeo had said that the twin-island nation is falling apart economically, and doubled down on his comments, adding, “I don’t know if they have a problem with truth, but the fact of the matter is that the economy is undiversified and it relies heavily on oil and gas and when the prices fall, things start to fall apart, and they are facing some of those consequences now.”
During his Rice University address, Mr. Bharrat also pointed out Venezuela as an example of what not to follow. He said it got carried away with its oil and gas revenues.
In Guyana’s case, he said government will ensure the other sectors grow with oil and gas. The government has maintained that Guyana is an open economy, and intends to incentivise investments in certain sectors and projects.