[www.inewsguyana.com]– Addressing a room full of businessmen and women last evening (Thursday December 04), Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh restated the government’s hope that the Opposition will avail itself for dialogue even as he noted that the political challenges that beset Guyana are not unique.
Dr. Singh was at the time addressing the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (GCCI) annual Business Awards.
He observed that both the United States of America which is over 238 years old and Guyana which is just 48 years old still has its democratic stalemates.
Quoting from an article in the Economist magazine on the state of US politics today, Dr Singh said “From the federal shutdown to gun control, stalemate is America’s political norm. Congress is more interested in playing politics than solving problems.”
It is in this context that the Minister connects Guyana’s current political impasse to that of the older, more established USA.
Minister Singh dismissed the notion that the current prorogation of Guyana’s Parliament makes the current Government undemocratic; pointing out that when similar action is taken in other developed countries those persons are not accused of being unpatriotic or undemocratic.
Through similar analogies, the Minister noted that it is incumbent upon all responsible leadership to talk/ engage in dialog in the interest of Guyana. He said President Ramotar has been willing to dialogue throughout all of the frustrations of the 10th Parliament.
Meanwhile, also addressing the business community, Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana Dr. Nicole Giles called on local business to re-examine the role of energy as either an accelerator or brake on growth even as she pointed to the four-year low last week in oil prices.
She said in the short term, this price drop could spur the development of small and medium enterprises and encourage consumer spending while pointing out that the recipe for success in business is solid investments minus market pricing volatility.
“The continuing volatility in the price of oil is a reminder of the risks posed by economic policy that is overly reliant on hydrocarbons,” Giles added.
She said one of Canada’s greatest economic advantages and a key to its prosperity is its energy resources. “Canada like Guyana is blessed with immense natural resources. In Canada, energy accounts for a sizeable and growing share of our gross domestic product. Its importance as an economic driver will increase in the future as Canada consolidates its place as an energy superpower.”
She said the coming years and decades will pose real challenges for energy consumption and security, particularly as countries move more and more toward cleaner energy solutions.
To this end, the High Commissioner observed that the current volatility in the oil market makes an excellent business case for modifying Guyana’s energy mix.
“In the same way a firm diversifies its investments, or even markets, firms should also consider diversifying their energy sources to mitigate risks and maximise potential for growth. All countries, and particularly developing countries such as Guyana that have huge potential to develop renewables, should be encouraged to seek out safe, secure energy sources to help ensure sustainable economic growth.”