Guyana, Jamaica discuss ways to improve trade, investments

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Senior Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh on Tuesday participated in a breakfast engagement with over 60 Jamaican business persons at the Guyana Marriott Hotel where discussions centred on how Guyana and Jamaica can improve growth in trade and investment between the two countries.

The engagement provided an excellent opportunity for the forging of closer ties between Guyana’s and Jamaica’s private sector and for accelerating the deepening of investment and trade. The Trade Mission was led by Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill while Minister Singh was accompanied at the meeting by Minister of Public Works Bishop Juan Edghill and Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond.

The Jamaican Trade Mission to Guyana stems from an earlier trade mission to Guyana in October 2022 when the Jamaican Minister and team visited to explore export and investment opportunities here. Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Jamaica Promotions Corporation, the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association partnered to make the missions possible.

During the meeting Dr. Singh alluded to Guyana’s continuing economic growth and posited that the country will continue to be a major centre of strong economic growth going forward and well into the medium term as it will move from producing about 350,000 barrels of oil per day to producing over one million barrels per day by the year 2027. He said Government recognizes the importance of a strong diversified economic base and since the early days of oil production placed a high level of focus on the non-oil economy which has since been doing well as he outlined its growth since 2020 when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic -re-entered office.

“This (oil sector) has triggered a wave of activity necessary for the production of oil”, Minister Singh added but noted as well that in addition to all the major work taking place on the public sector side, ‘we currently have an unprecedented build out of infrastructure on the private side,” he said.

“There isn’t a sector that has not been visited by positive spill overs as a result of the growth in the oil and gas sector. If you take training, the demand for skilled personnel right now, there is an unmet demand for skilled labour. We are of course, on the part of the Government responding by providing as much training as we possibly can but I make the point really to say too that even in the training and human capacity development space there is a huge surge in demand,” Dr. Singh told the enthusiastic Jamaican Mission.

Minister Edghill, while addressing the team of business persons outlined a large number of the infrastructure projects ongoing in the country as well as those in the pipeline including the New Demerara Harbour Bridge, the Bridge across the Berbice River, the Deep-Water Harbour in the Berbice River, the Linden to Lethem Road and the Ogle to Timehri Road among others.

‘In the quest of modernising Guyana, we also want to transform Guyana. We want to move Guyana from being just a primary producer of raw materials. We would really like to come into the value added stream. Our biggest challenge has been the cost of electricity and as a result of that we have a transformational, major project that we’ve undertaken,” Minister Edhill explained as he alluded to Guyana’s Gas to Shore Project.

“There is great room for private sector involvement in this modernising and transforming that is taking place and our flagship which I think is second to none in the Region in terms of housing development,” Minister Edghill posited as he referenced Government’s massive housing drive.

Minister Walrond told the trade Mission about Guyana’s unique tourism product including its rich and diverse culture, its lush forests, flora and fauna, mountains, waterfalls and abundant rivers. She referenced the various exciting and attractive places they can visit while in Guyana and she also outlined the several internationally-branded hotels which are under construction as well as the various major events usually held in Guyana in terms of entertainment and the facilities being constructed to accommodate the large influx of visitors to the country during these events.

“These are just some of the opportunities and initiatives happening in different parts of the country. I want to thank you for your interest in Guyana. The fact that you are here and the fact that you are interested, we appreciate it and we hope that you don’t leave here without a project or two to take back to your Boards. I have just listed a few,” she said.

The Trade Mission to Guyana presents an excellent opportunity for both Guyanese and Jamaican companies to forge closer ties and for expansion of the Jamaican business presence and relations in Guyana. Guyana is considered currently as one of the premier investment destinations in the world with attractive investment opportunities available in the oil and gas sector, infrastructure and requisite support services. There also exists avenues for investment and expansion in the non-oil extractives, such as gold, bauxite, agriculture, tourism and hospitality, ICT and energy. The Trade Mission will be in Guyana until January 28.