First, let me state categorically that his Excellency, President Granger and his Government are doing their utmost to see the people of Guyana improve their standard of living and have a better quality of life. Fellow Guyanese, this cannot be achieved overnight.
I have also read that the contract with Exxon Mobil must be renegotiated. To some extent, I agree with Christopher Ram, but the contract has been signed and while we should adhere to it, we should also be open to restructuring the weaker parts of it for more beneficial impact for the Guyanese economy. Future contracts must be negotiated by people who have in-depth knowledge of the oil industry.
To those who desire that this contract be renegotiated, I suggest that they go to the Canadian embassy and request to see the “Gray Report”. Then you would realize with whom you are dealing when you contract a multinational oil major, especially Exxon Mobil – you have to get the best possible to negotiate.
When dealing with such a large multinational company, it will very arduous to say the least, or next to impossible, to ascertain the costs for oil recovery. Let me give you some basic reasons:
1] Exxon Mobil may have shares in the companies making the pipes, valves or even the steel companies.
2] They may also have shares in the banks from which they are borrowing funds.
3] They may also have shares in the oil refineries.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. What this implies is that in no uncertain circumstances can this government or any Government be able to obtain true costs.
My other opinion is that our government should use some of the funds from the oil revenue to invest in alternative sources of energy. We should go ahead with hydro-electric, wind and solar farms. [We have started this but must improve production divestment across the board].
Please also bear in mind oil prices may not be the same all the time. In fact, it is my belief that by 2025, oil prices shall begin to fall. Right now, the American, German, Japanese and Chinese automakers are investing heavily in electric vehicles. Europe will no longer produce combustion engines for cars by 2030. This is very good for the environment.
More emphasis should be placed on agriculture. In fact, I believe all agriculture products sold should be tax-free, and also on agriculture and mining equipment. One only has to look at Venezuela and notice what occurs when a country fails to diversify its economy and depends on one source of income.
People criticised our Founder Leader, Mr. Linden Forbes Burnham when Guyana was sanctioned and certain items were prohibited from entering Guyana, but in the end Guyana became [not one hundred percent] self-sufficient in terms of food.
India was another country where agriculture was tax-free. This was implemented by the late Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Today, India exports some of its agriculture products. Guyana is still a relatively young country but we have the talent to get almost everything done right here. What is also ever more in our favour is that we have a young population and our Government must give our youths an opportunity to prove themselves.
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