These are the sentiments echoed by Guyana’s Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin as he addressed participants on the final day of the inaugural Guyana Oil and Gas Conference taking place at the Guyana Marriott Hotel.
In his presentation the Minister sought to address the challenges facing Guyana’s economy and to share his perspective on where oil fits in the grand scheme of things.
He assured those gathered that his government prioritizes the interest of the Guyanese people and the development of the economy.
Offering reasons for Guyana’s current economic state of affairs, the Minister pointed to the “illusionary economy” that hindered the development of Guyana’s productive sectors and side-lined legitimate businesses. He also pointed to the previous lack of focus on value-added production but stressed his government’s support for “key value-added sectors such as agro-processing, wood products, jewellery, ICT and tourism.”
The Minister continued, ‘we will engage these sectors meaningfully on the challenges they face in becoming competitive producers or service providers. And we will assist in reducing those challenges. Our value-added sectors will get the support from our government that they need to grow and develop”.
At this point the Minister informed the gathering of a project which will be undertaken by the Ministry of Business to develop an export promotion strategy for Guyana.
The Minster acknowledged that the challenges of the private sector must be addressed with appropriate solutions if Guyana’s many business opportunities are to be exploited, and so he assured those present of government’s readiness and willingness to engage the private sector. The private sector he said, is key to setting Guyana on a sustainable economic path, supported by government’s policies, laws and regulations.
Addressing Guyana’s preparedness for oil, the Minister stressed that it is necessary to develop other sectors so as to ensure that Guyana does not become absorbed in oil nor overly dependent on the resource. He asserted that food security is more important than oil for Guyana.
The Minister concluded his presentation by acknowledging that the oil industry is good for Guyana in more ways than one and that it brings with it many best practices that can be transferred to domestic industries.
The oil and gas conference was hosted by the Guyana Oil and Gas Association (GOGA).
Full remarks will be uploaded to the site