President assures Guyanese businesses will benefit from transformational projects

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President Irfaan Ali and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo hosted a joint news conference at State House on Friday (Office of the President photo)

With more foreign investments expected to flow in as Guyana embarks on a path of massive transformation and development, President Dr Irfaan Ali has reassured that the people of Guyana will also benefit from the opportunities that will become available.

The Head of State posited that currently, there is a technical task force working on a Local Content Policy for Guyana to see how to not only support the local Private Sector but also how to build capacity and ensure that they too benefit from the opportunities from the oil and gas sector.

However, in the same breath, he pointed out that local content should not just cover the petroleum sector.

“For me, local content is not only about oil and gas. With the massive transformation and the infrastructure projects that will come in place, we need local content there too,” President Ali told reporters on the sidelines of a recent event at State House.

On Friday, Guyana and the United States signed a Framework Agreement to strengthen cooperation in various sectors including energy and infrastructure, under the umbrella of the “Growth in the Americas Initiative”.

This agreement was signed by Foreign Affairs Minister, Hugh Todd, and US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who was on a two-day visit to Guyana.

President Ali explained that this Agreement will not only pave the way for the US private sector to expand its investment portfolio here but also partner with the Guyanese Private Sector.

“These partnerships will help to meet our broader infrastructure and downstream development needs and by extension drive economic growth and development as well as job creation. Notably, more opportunities will be available for firms to explore investment opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector, ICT and food production, among others,” he stated.

According to the Head of State, the local construction sector does not have the capacity to do the large projects but this does not mean that they should be blocked out from opportunities.

He went on to say that foreign investments will not only facilitate the mobilisation of US capital and the US Private Sector to take advantage of the wide-ranging economic opportunities and infrastructure transformation here, but more importantly, will allow for the collaboration, cooperation, transfer of technology, and the building of local capacity here in the local Private Sector.

On this note, he highlighted that the Framework Agreement sends the right signal to investors.

Against this backdrop, President Ali said it is “disturbing” that there are persons criticising the 2020 Emergency Budget as a ‘Private Sector’ budget.

He outlined that while the menu of measures in the budget covers welfare issues, in order to expand economic growth and rejuvenate the economy, the Private Sector needs to be boosted.