US based Energy, Oil and Gas expert Edwin Callender has reminded Guyana that it has an abundance of natural resources outside of oil, and urged the country not to neglect the other sectors, as oil will not be here forever.
Callender said that while the oil and gas sector in the country will open the door that could lead to tremendous economic development for both Guyana and the Caribbean, other industries should not be neglected.
“It will not last forever and then what, what is going to happen? So Guyana and the people of Guyana, represented by whatever the Government, have to ensure, they have to insist that those industries, whether it is sugar, rice, everything else, are not neglected, in fact that they are enhanced”.
According to Callender, the Government needs to ensure that there is a strategic approach with a long-term view in ensuring the other sectors are developed.
“Many times, a country comes into this easy money from oil, you just sell the oil and they get some evidence, you tend to neglect the other industries you have and after a while those industries don’t exist. Whereas, before they might have been producing sugar, rice livestock etc., they are importing everything and those industries die. You can use this opportunity to modernize those industries, improve the efficiency, diversify the products and just do what you need to do in order to be a modern economy and not a one-dimensional economy.”
He reminded that in Guyana, there is a well-established Agriculture Industry and this should not be placed on the back burner. The Oil and Gas Expert also noted that the country can now move fully into manufacturing and making more products in its Agriculture Industry too.
In last April, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO’s) Assistant Director General for Latin America and the Caribbean, Dr. Julio Berdegué, during a media briefing in Guyana, had reasoned that the oil and gas sector revenues could be used to finance large-scale investments in climate change adaptation or change the food systems to provide healthier diets.
The FAO Official had also noted that there was a possibility that the labour costs in agriculture would increase to keep pace with salaries and wages in the oil and gas industry.