[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has engaged the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and hosted a policy workshop to study the impacts of investment in Guyana’s extractive sector.
iNews understands that the study was undertaken by the Government with support from UNDP and was done in two parts. One aspect entailed the economic impact of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the extractive industries in Guyana.
The second aspect deals with the environmental impact of FDIs on the extractive industries. Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Robert Persaud in delivering his remarks at the workshop held at Herdmanston Lodge, described the study as timely in the context of what has been taking place nationally in the extractive sector.
This study along with the experiences of other countries will assist Guyana in developing a first-class extractive industry that will ensure that maximum benefits redound to all citizens. Minister Persaud said that FDI not only in the extractive industries, but across the board, is an area in which the Government has, and continues to place a lot of emphasis.
The Minister noted that Guyana is currently at a very critical stage in its development in terms of expanded growth and economic development and maximising opportunities.
He explained that the Government engaged the UNDP in this area because it wanted to be sure that what it is doing particularly as it relates to FDI, is what is best for the country.
Minister Persaud expressed the hope that the study will serve as a catalyst for investors’ confidence and allow for local and other stakeholders to be able understand and contribute to effective governance of the sector.
UNDP’s Resident Representative, Chisa Mikami said her organisation is pleased to be associated with the study and the growing partnership with the Natural Resources Ministry that seeks to support ongoing efforts to harness Guyana’s extractive industries for a more people-centered sustainable development trajectory.
She noted that the study must be seen in the context that natural resources exporting countries will need upstream policy support from UNDP which is currently not being provided systematically and which can impede inclusive and sustainable development.
Over the last few years, significant investments (local, foreign and private) have been made in Guyana’s extractive sector. These have had negative and positive impacts on the sector in specific and the economy in general. These changes and impacts are captured in the study.
Mikami pointed out that while the current study projects that Guyana’s mining sector will expand and investment in large-scale mining will double the output of gold; the impact on employment, technology transfer, and general business development in the country is not expected to be large.
“Guyana needs to consider improving its mineral sector administration and revision of the mining sector code and policy…the growing importance of natural resources in terms of financing development in the years to come is likely to transform international cooperation and the way development assistance is provided and implemented,” she said.
Minister Persaud agreed that the existing mining policy is outdated and informed that this issue is engaging the attention of his Ministry and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC). He also noted that aspects of the output from this study will also be incorporated in the development of the new mining policies.
The consultancy took a partnership approach with international consultants from UNDP along with local experts from the Ministries of Finance, Natural Resources and Environment and the University of Guyana.