GO-Invest says it expects over $107B in investments this year

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CEO of GO-Invest Owen Verwey

With the prospect of new enterprises developing as a result of the emerging oil and gas industry and the need to ensure attention is given to traditional sectors, the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) says it is forging ahead with its efforts to facilitate investments and maximize exports.

The Agency on Thursday said that it expects over $107.5B in investments this year and has so far enabled more than G$12.5B in executed investments (January 1, 2018 – June 30, 2018), with a projection of over 434 jobs to be created across various sectors, including services, agriculture, and energy.

“We anticipate a substantial and rapid increase in executed investment agreements in the second half of 2018, with more than G$95 Billion in new projects in the pipeline between January-August, 2018. These include projects submitted but are in the due diligence phase either at GO-Invest, GRA, Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, Central Housing and Planning Authority and Ministry of Business Industrial Division; and others that are still under discussion and review” GO-Invest posited.

Moreover, the Agency outlined that interest in investing in Guyana has grown dramatically and in the first half of 2018 they have met with hundreds of local and foreign investors seeking to explore investment opportunities in Guyana across all sectors.

Last year GO-Invest projected investments totaling $154 billion for 2018 which was anticipated to create approximately 5,725 jobs.

The Agency outlined that their investment projections were was based on; Agriculture, Forestry, Oil and Gas and the privitisation of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).

Touching on Agriculture, the entity explained that it met with 3 large scale investors who communicated their firm intention to move forward with investment. “One South American company has completed a pilot study on leased lands to grow soya beans (among other crops) and is now seeking lands from GL&SC for their permanent operations. The other two investors were Brazilian companies which will start large-scale agricultural investment and the various agencies are still conducting due diligence.”

It was also outlined that other applications for industrial and commercial lands are going through the various due diligence processes with the relevant agencies.

As it pertains to Forestry, it was assumed that Barama’s decision to end its forestry operations would result in their concession opening up to other investors who would be eligible for fiscal incentives from Government.

However, according to GO-Invest, applications for many of these are in the pipeline.

Meanwhile, the Agency elucidating on the impending Oil and Gas sector, posited that service providers have accessed the services of GO-Invest for advice on commencing operations and it is anticipated that multiple investments would come on stream by the end of the year.

“The 2018 projections anticipated more shore base activities and local business participation in the O&G Industry, and one IA has already been executed with a Guyanese owned service provider. The Agency had anticipated an earlier influx of local companies partnering with international investors to service the O&G Industry, but current indicators suggest that there will be a slow build up in momentum with significant acceleration in 2019 when we expect an uptake in local investments as businesses familiarise themselves with the requirements of the O&G Industry and move to improve financial reporting standards and capacity” said GO-Invest.

Briefly touching on the GuySuCo privatization, GO-Invest said that it had assumed, based on discussions with the National Industrial & Commercial Investments Limited’s (NICILs) Special Purpose Unit (SPU), that the GuySuCo Privatisation efforts would have significantly progressed in the first half of 2018 for divestment and private investment of the four Estates.

However, this was not the case.

Meanwhile, the Agency posited that 47 businesses were matched with overseas clients for the supply of Gold, Diamond, Coffee, Coconut Oil, Heart of Palm, Peppers, Fruit Pulp and Clay Bricks within the period under review.

It was also outlined that 9 Guyanese businesses were supported to access export markets mainly in the Agro-processing Sector.

The Agency in reflecting on its half year performance indicated that efforts are underway to review its current institutional and operational model in order to strengthen and improve its ability to promote exports and attract Investments.

“A proposed strategic plan will be developed in-line with the vision set forth for the Agency by the Ministry of Business, through the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) Project, which will focus on developing its Investment Promotion and Export Promotion Strategies by implementing best practices in trade and investment promotion models as well as renewed strategic and operational arrangements for the Agency.”

GO-Invest said it will also deepen its collaboration with the Small Business Bureau and the Ministry of Agriculture in order to assist farmers producing traditional and non-traditional crops to aid them in understanding the business and profitability aspects of crop farming, cluster participation, international market opportunities (such as accessing assistance under the European Development Fund) and developing internal capacities to make them export-ready.

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