The private sectors of Guyana and Jamaica are exploring opportunities to deepen trade and investment ties between the two bodies on the back of this country’s lucrative oil and gas sector.
According to a Ministry of Finance release, with this in mind, a trade delegation from the island led by Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill is currently in Guyana. The group of some 60 businessmen and women yesterday participated in a breakfast engagement at the Guyana Marriott Hotel in Georgetown that was attended by Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance Dr Ashni Singh. The Minister was accompanied by Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, and Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond.
At the breakfast session, discussions centred on how Guyana and Jamaica could improve growth in trade and investment. “The engagement provided an excellent opportunity for the forging of closer ties between Guyana and Jamaica’s private sectors and for accelerating the deepening of investment and trade.”
The release said that the Jamaican Trade Mission’s trip stemmed from an earlier trade mission to Guyana in October 2022. The current mission was made possible by the collaboration between Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Jamaica Promotions Corporation, the Guyana Office for Investment (G-Invest), the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association.
During the meeting the Senior Minister spoke of Guyana’s continuing economic growth and posited that the country will continue to be a major centre of strong economic growth in the near future and well into the medium term, as it is projected to move from producing some 350,000 barrels of oil per day to producing over one million barrels per day by the year 2027. The government, he said, recognises the importance of a strong diversified economic base and since the early days of oil production, has placed a high level of focus on the non-oil economy.
“This [oil sector] has triggered a wave of activity necessary for the production of oil,” Singh added, while hastening to assure that in addition to all the major work taking place on the public sector side, “we currently have an unprecedented build out of infrastructure on the private side.”
Singh told the Jamaican mission, “There isn’t a sector that has not been visited by positive spillovers as a result of the growth in the oil and gas sector. If you take training, the demand for skilled personnel right now, there is an unmet demand for skilled labour. We are of course, on the part of the government, responding by providing as much training as we possibly can but I make the point really to say too that even in the training and human capacity development space there is a huge surge in demand”.
Edghill, who also spoke to the gathering, highlighted a large number of the infrastructure projects ongoing in the country as well as those in the pipeline including the New Demerara Harbour Bridge, the bridge across the Berbice River, the deep-water harbour in the Berbice River, the Linden-to-Lethem Road, and the Ogle-to-Timehri Road.
“In the quest of modernising Guyana, we also want to transform Guyana. We want to move Guyana from being just a primary producer of raw materials. We would really like to come into the value-added stream. Our biggest challenge has been the cost of electricity and as a result of that we have a transformational, major project that we’ve undertaken,” Edghill explained as he alluded to Guyana’s gas-to-shore project.
“There is great room for private sector involvement in this modernising and transforming that is taking place and our flagship which I think is second to none in the Region in terms of housing development,” Edghill noted.
The Trade Mission will be in Guyana until January 28, the release added.
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