With the perception that jobs are scarce and criticism emanating from some quarters, President David Granger is calling for a collective change to the population’s mindset of entitlement and the feeling that the administration owes the populace jobs.
The Head of State expressed this view during the weekly televised programme ‘Public Interest’. According to Granger, while the government did not have jobs to give out, they would instead like to help people to help themselves.
He did cite certain initiatives, such as the measures being taken to advance Guyana’s renewable energy policy, as moves that will open up opportunities for new and diverse careers. According to Granger, Government is moving to ensure that all Government buildings, as well as the Public Buildings and universities are outfitted with equipment such as solar panels.
According to Granger, Government is working on making the former community of Bartica, Region seven, into a model community which could display all the attributes of a sustainable, renewable energy policy. Bartica was elevated to township status on Saturday.
“(This will be done) using wind, water, solar, biomass particularly,” he said. “We can have students (and) businessmen go there and see that technology at work.”
“Those are some of the directions we are moving forward to and now that we are taking more decisive steps in renewable energy, we expect that a lot of young people will be going into those fields and into smaller areas like solar panels and learning to erect some of these structures and service them in the hinterland.”
Granger also spoke of encouraging persons to get involved in agro processing. In addition, he touted encouraging entrepreneurship, from as early as school, rather than everyone looking forward for work in the state sector.
“We want to help people to help themselves,” he stressed. “The government certainly does not have jobs to give out to people. We want to ensure that more people stay in school and qualify. We want to ensure more employment opportunities are open in the private sector.”
The President emphasized that Guyana is a promising country, but that people need to change the mindset that Government owes them employment. He stated that instead, there is a need to create in the minds of youths the desire to work and to excel.
“In fact, I believe that Guyana has greater prospects than other Caribbean countries in that regard,” he said.
In his 2016 budget speech, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan had spoken of publicizing Guyana’s advantages to attract new and diverse industries and consequently, jobs. He had stated that for this year, GO-Invest would increase its engagements with the Diaspora in order to get them to reinvest home.
Recapping GO-Invest’s achievements for 2015, he had stated that the agency facilitated 148 projects across sectors such as agriculture, tourism, forestry, Information and Communication Technology and energy.
“The potential value of investment facilitated amounted to $89.3 billion, while the total potential jobs numbered about 8, 400,” Jordan had said. “GO-Invest also facilitated 44 Foreign Direct Investments. In 2016, the agency hopes to facilitate 160 new investments worth a total of $11 billion.”
Pointing out that a challenge to getting investors was the lack of facilities with full utility services, Jordan had stated that Government would build and upgrade industrial estates at Belvedere and Lethem.
The effects of this, he had said, would be to create business ventures in light manufacturing, wood working and fabrication, in addition to creating thousands of jobs.
He had also cited the potential of the tourism sector to create jobs and economic growth for Guyana.
While Government is making moves to create more employment, the 2015 US State Department report on Human Rights has highlighted that Guyana’s existing work environment is far from healthy.
According to the report, though there is a law which prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, social status or national origin, it was not effectively enforced.
“Job vacancy notices routinely specified that the employer sought only male or only female applicants, and women earned approximately 61 percent less than men for equal work,” the report also stated.
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