The Government of Guyana may soon begin looking at an immigration policy that would see skilled and resource persons granted easy access into Guyana as the country seeks to push ahead with infrastructural and other developments as a direct spinoff from the country’s oil windfall.
The intended immigration policy was mention by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo during a Sunday Night Program on Asaase Radio 99.5 in Ghana, West Africa where he, Jagdeo is currently on an Official State Visit.
According to him, the infrastructural needs of Guyana require a large number of skills and resources which Guyana may not have enough of, once the full potential of the oil and gas sector kicks in within a few years’ time.
“We are here to learn a lot as we try to craft architecture to manage this industry and to build the institutions necessary for it’s proper regulation and what I have heard here is amazing. I have always known Gandhians to be very smart people from my engagements around the world with them. But you have a ton of brilliant technicians here who have done a great job in building these institutions and crafting these policies, and we are looking forward to them coming to help us to do that” VP Jagdeo told the radio host.
According to Mr. Jagdeo, overheating of the economy comes when the demand outstrips the productive capacity and that the Government of Guyana recognises that the local capacity is limited and the demand is massive. He said if Guyana is to invest just the first three Floating Production and Storage Facility (FPSO), it will be some USD $20 Billion dollars and the logistics onshore to manage those and the allied investments in hotels and in real estate would probably run into USD $40 Billion.
The overheating happens largely when the demand outstrips your capacity so we recognise our capacity is limited and the demand is massive now because if you are going to invest just the first FPSO that are already approached, that is about 20 billion dollars, and the logistics onshore and to manage those and allied investments such as hotels and in real estate would probably be about 40 billion.
“We have a small population, limited Labour Force we would have to at some point in the future I think we would hit full employment so we may have to consider an active immigration but careful immigration policy, that is how you expand your capacity so when demand grows and you have limited capacity then you have to overheat” Stated Jagdeo.
Guyana has a large number of small and medium scale contracting firms with some amount of capacity with some even having difficulty securing contracts. However, the VP noted on his radio program that the capacity locally is still limited.
“Right now if we are going to spend more on infrastructure we don’t have the domestic capabilities to implement all the projects so we would have to import all of those capabilities through foreign contractors and foreign expertise so these two have to be carefully calibrated to see that you demand has no tripped your productive capacity because it now becomes inflationary and the economy start overheating” Bharrat Jagdeo explained.
The host of the program did not let the history of Guyana escape her listeners and or her guest, Bharrat Jagdeo, and questioned him about the PPP’s alignment now that the country is moving into health wealth.
“There has been an association with Marxism ( the political and theories that form the basis of communism) of course Marxism-Leninism which is one reason why the British was so afraid of him (Cheddi Jagan) and now there is the sense that perhaps it is another left wing government which is going to come into this wonderful oil windfall?” the host asked.
The question was however not directly answered as two continued onto other subject areas and the question was not followed up upon by the host.
Jagdeo was also asked that the new oil wealth will be used for in-terms of meeting the needs of the average citizens of the country. He posited that housing, education and health care are continuing areas of need within the country.
“We have to build the next generation infrastructure to support low carbon economy and we had laid out this plan even before we discovered oil we had identified five new growth poles for Guyana and the oil and gas sector was not one that would create the wealth of the future. So the oil resources can accelerate our plans for the development of those sectors.” Jagdeo stated while on the program.
He said that Guyana plans to have big-scale investments with schools and hospitals for the future along with a massive amount of training, all of which should be covered in the local content policy the second draft which government hopes will see input from previous players in the oil and gas sector providing insight on so that the people of Guyana can benefit.
” We are hoping that it can be ready by December and so that is why we want a second look by technicians from here who have done this before… looking at the draft we have so that our people can benefit” the Vice President concluded.