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Investors welcomed but Guyanese must also benefit – Pres. Ali

EDITORIAL: To whom much is given, much is required

Guyana’s President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali on Tuesday officially opened the International Energy Conference and Expo Guyana 2022 being attended by local, regional and international stakeholders in the petroleum industry. The conference is held under the theme ‘Charting a sustainable energy future.’

Addressing the opening of the conference, the President clearly stated that investors are welcomed in Guyana. “We welcome investors,” he said.

He explained that while the country is pushing for local content, this does not mean investors are not welcomed, however, Guyanese must benefit from said investments. The president told those gathered that “we welcome every single investor…every single stakeholder, whether you are regional, whether you are international, we welcome you. But all we are saying is that, that space for technological transformation, collaboration, local growth and competitiveness and productivity, must be built into the system to bring benefit to the people of the country.”

President Ali further stated that the region must benefit from the prosperity of Guyana. He noted that aside from oil and gas, Guyana has a lot to offer with a bauxite reserve of 314tonnes, quarrying reserves estimated at 28.9M tonnes, diamond reserves estimated at a cost of 750M US dollars and opportunities for investment in agriculture. He also highlighted potential for boosting tourism and other sectors.

“Oil and Gas…it gives us the opportunity with the resources to diversify our economy, building it out to many new pillars so that we will be resilient, strong and sustainable,” the President said.

In relation to energy, President Ali said Guyana, Suriname and Brazil are working together to develop an energy corridor. This he said, will help to propel Guyana’s manufacturing industry and it falls in line with the government’s aim to reduce electricity cost by 50 per cent.

“We will remain uncompetitive if we cannot address the cost of energy. We must address the cost of energy. Our private sector will not be able to grow if we cannot bring down the cost of energy and we will bring down the cost of energy by 50 per cent by 2024.

“Bringing down the cost for energy is about creating the space and opportunity for the development of a world-class manufacturing, industrial and agro-processing sector. That is how real benefits come to the people, that is how real benefits come to the country. When we can invest and create the opportunity to improve competitiveness and expand businesses opportunity. There shall be no turning back from this energy agenda,” President Ali stated.

With that, the President said the development of the country’s energy mix remains a priority for the government. He said Guyanese must be afforded quality education, healthcare, social services and be able to retire with dignity.