Govt looking at financial instrument to integrate diaspora in national development – President

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President Dr Irfaan Ali in conversation with Broadcaster Farook Juman at State House on Friday

President Dr Irfaan Ali has disclosed that his government is currently considering a financial instrument to integrate the Guyanese diaspora in its national development agenda through investments here.

“With the emerging oil and gas sector and the type of investments we’re making to not only strengthen the tradition sectors but also open new areas and new opportunities, we see great potential for the diaspora to bring their capital resources back here. For a matter of fact, we’re now discussing financial instruments through which we can have all categories and levels of the diaspora involved and integrated into the development of our country,” he announced during an appearance on an online programme hosted by US-based Guyanese Radio Broadcaster, Farook Juman.

According to the Head of State, the diaspora has always played an integral part in Guyana’s development and now, his administration wants to foster this in order to attract more investments.

The president went onto recognised the role of the overseas-based Guyanese community after the March 2020 General and Regional elections when the country’s democracy was being undermined. He also noted that the diaspora also played a key role in support Guyana’s economy over the years through remittances and visits here.

“So, the diaspora in my view has always been a critical part to the development and advancement of our country,” Ali contended on the online programme which has a vast overseas reach.

However, even as government is currently refining a framework to cater specifically to the diaspora, President Ali outlined that it is important to recognise that those willing to invest here are accustomed to a certain level of service – be it public sector or private sector services.

“We have to ensure that we strengthen our systems and we improve our systems. We improve our education system and we move towards more international standards so that the movement, the decision to move [investments here] becomes easier because these are some of the critical questions that persons in the diaspora ask… You have part-time investors who come and invest their resources and go back. But in coming back on a more permanent basis, you have issues of security, issues of healthcare, education, the port services, government services – these are critical issues too that are of interests to the diaspora and these are the areas we’re targeting and we’re investing in to improve to make it better and to ensure that we create an enabling environment,” the Head of State noted.

Moreover, he pointed out that there is a wide array of investment opportunities beyond the petroleum industry available in Guyana that can be tapped into. As such, he urged the diaspora investors to explore these.

“You can’t understand the opportunities from a third hand or a second hand. You have to come here. You have to do your research; you have to look at the areas the country is moving towards. You have to look at the opportunities and then plan your own path. So, government can only create that enabling environment and that is what we’re doing,” the President asserted.