Guyana- Putting country first – commentary

Guyana Map 2015

Guyana Map – click to enlarge

Putting country first

July 21, 2015 | By | Filed Under Editorial

Despite all the financial and economic problems facing the country especially with the sugar and rice industry, Guyana has an abundance of natural resources, arable land, mineral deposits, natural ports and a young and educated population to move the country forward.

With the recent discovery of oil, the economic growth potential in Guyana is very high. Despite these advantages, poverty, unemployment and crime, especially among the youths are on the rise in Guyana and the country continues to face serious economic and social challenges.

During the reign of the last regime, corruption was rampant, education and health care were on the brink of disaster, infrastructure was on the verge of collapse and floods were constant.

For the past 10 years, Guyana’s near stagnant economic growth due largely to the collapse of GUYSUCO, coupled with excessive borrowing, reckless spending, and massive corruption have limited the former PPP administration’s ability to invest in infrastructure, education, health care, social services and security.

During this period, little effort was made to reform the economy to unleash the growth potential of the Guyanese people. Guyana has the potential to be the economic growth engine and bread basket of the Caribbean but for a host of reasons it has not been able to achieve that goal. Today, the rice industry is in crisis, gold and bauxite production has reduced, and the forest industry is in shambles. The Granger and Nagamootoo-led APNU+AFC Coalition Government have inherited a country with an overdrawn treasury and an economy in ruin. With the talents and skills of the nation’s best and brightness, their goal is to build a robust market economy in order to achieve sustainable economic and human growth.

Since taking office on May 16, the Coalition government has made security, law enforcement co-operation, unity and the reduction of corruption and crime, especially armed robbery and murder, their highest priority. Security is foundation of a nation’s economic growth.

And democracy is the hall mark of good governance that is being practiced by the APNU+AFC coalition government.
The newly elected Government will embark on bilateral and multilateral efforts to increase trade and investment and strengthen the country’s institutions to accommodate foreign investment. The government recognizes that the lowering of barriers to trade, streamlining the bureaucracy and the curtailing corruption will encourage foreign investment, increase trade and boost the country’s economy out of stagnation.

This must be a priority because private sector-led growth has proven to be the only sustainable model for development over the last century. Guyana has several sectors that are ripe for international investment. Energy and gold are two of the most obvious examples.
With an abundance of agricultural and mineral products and water ways, Guyana’s market is primed for some serious deals in energy (oil and hydro power) rice, sugar, gold and bauxite, among others.

The Coalition government through its foreign representatives should be committed to reach out to the American business community as a destination for American investment. While the Embassy will do what it can, ultimately, it is up to the government to make the case for companies to invest. The APNU+AFC Coalition Government must show the world that Guyana is a safe, secure, and profitable destination to do business.

During the election campaign, the Coalition endorsed the concept of full and equal citizenship for all irrespective of one’s gender, religion, sexuality, disability, class, color or creed. All must be involved in the development process and must make the necessary sacrifice to put Guyana back on solid financial footing to make those essential public investments in infrastructure, education, health, and security a reality.

Addressing security, streamlining the bureaucratic processes, increasing productivity, and opening up financing to more entrepreneurs will break the back of economic stagnation. It is time to put the country first.

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Comments

  • wentworthcarrega  On 07/21/2015 at 9:34 pm

    Guyana faces an uphill battle trying to do a financial balancing act in its attempt, for the first time, to put together a coherent economic plan void of nepotism. The road will be rough aligning mismanaged and incompetently run institutions by persons lacking working skills.

    As the writer rightly pointed put, infrastructure and security are paramount to attracting investment. Beyond those two factors, the nation must move beyond political finger pointing and incorporate into its psyche, as Cuba has realized, an ideology based on the competitive spirit of a free market while shedding the utopian feelings of socialism- the latter is dead and remains an academic exercise.

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