Thousands of new jobs being created in agri sector – Pres Ali


…says Govt well on its way to achieving 50,000 new jobs by 2025

With thousands of jobs being created in the agriculture and other sectors in the country, President Dr Irfaan Ali has assured that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is well on its way to achieving its promise of creating 50,000 jobs in its first five years in office.

During a recent broadcast, the President explained that not only will they achieve the 50,000 new jobs milestone, but they will exceed it. He referenced the Government’s rehiring of thousands of Community Support Officers (CSOs) and Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) workers.

“The 50,000 new jobs. We are well on track of surpassing that, when many doubted our ability to achieve it. The more than 2500 CSOs who were rehired. These are CSOs who were fired under the previous Administration. It is this Government who rehired those Amerindian CSOs. Over 2000 GuySuCo workers rehired, that were fired under the last Administration in GuySuCo.”

President Ali explained that thousands of new jobs are being created in the agriculture sector, including in sectors outside of sugar. The President pointed to the sectoral support the PPP/C Government has been providing in agriculture, including in drainage and irrigation (DNI) charges.

“Thousands of new jobs being created in the agriculture sector… we have initiated many programmes to support agriculture. Yes, we have reversed the land lease fees, water charges, land taxes and DNI charges, back to the 2014 rates. It is this Government in the last three years, that reversed the VAT on fertiliser. Pesticides.”

“And key inputs in the poultry sector, include zero rating the poultry sector. Tax concessions for agro-processing. Cold storage and packaging and special incentives for corn and soya production. That’s why we’re seeing such a boom in the agriculture sector. We’ve helped the poultry sector again, bring down interest rates from eight to five per cent.”

According to President Ali, the Government has also invested in call centres and through this, created more than 1200 new jobs. Mention was also made of the part-time jobs initiative, noting that so far 13,000 part time jobs have been created.

“The 13,000 part-time jobs in Regions Two, Three, Five, Six and 10, that is adding disposable income. New disposable income, to families who did not have that income before. Who’s it benefitting?”

“When that disposable income is repaying monthly instalments for low-income loans, who is it benefitting? This is what the Government has been doing, putting more into the pockets of people,” the President explained.

Government’s focus on agriculture is down to the vision of making Guyana the bread basket of the Caribbean and reducing the regional food import bill. President Ali has declared that his Government would be pursuing an aggressive campaign to dismantle regional barriers to agricultural trade and that in the next few years, with the assistance of more diversified crops, Guyana would play a key role in reducing Caricom’s food import bill by 25 per cent.

The Agriculture Ministry was allocated $33.2 billion in Budget 2023 and in March of this year, five agencies attached to the Agriculture Ministry signed 21 contracts totalling $1,130,817,572 to advance the Government’s agricultural agenda.

Of the contracts signed, GuySuCo received $532 million; National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) received $504 million, Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) got $1 million, Mahaica Mahaicony Abary – Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA) received $27 million, and the Fisheries Department got $15 million.

Seven contracts were signed by GuySuCo for the supply of critical equipment and other materials, while NDIA signed 13 contracts that will see the construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure. Other contracts were signed by the New GMC, the Fisheries Department, and the MMA-ADA for the supply of materials, construction, and the provision of services.

Among the projects are the NDIA-led $43,916,800 rehabilitation of 16 pontoons; 10 pumps and 10 excavators for Regions Two to 10. This is aimed at assisting over 25,000 farmers and residents countrywide.

Also signed was a contract for the $69,875,000 rehabilitation of the Access Road at Onderneeming Phase 11, Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), that will benefit over 12,000 households and open up access to new areas which can be cultivated.

Seeking to tremendously increase rice production in the latter half of the year, MMA received $26,971,000 for the supply and delivery of crusher run, a construction material.