President Irfaan Ali yesterday assured members of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) of his Government’s commitment to ensuring the sector is strengthened and advanced.
The Head of State gave these assurances during a meeting with the association’s members at State House.
“We are hoping that over the coming years, we can strengthen the sector, that we can work with the sector in technological improvement and transfer so that we can support more modern ways of doing things, build stronger partnerships and work out an investment regime that can give the sector more access to cheaper capital,” he stated.
Ali, according to a statement from the Office of the President, pointed to the importance of the consultative engagement to the advancement of the sector.
“I think it is through engagement and consultation that we can have the best possible results for our country and for every sector. After all, you are the ones who are not only providing the leadership but the ones who know what is happening in the sector from a practical perspective. Policy-makers understand what is happening from a practical perspective but they are more concerned with the overarching policies to guide the sector.”
He also outlined the recently announced range of budgetary measures for the mining and productive sector.
“Yesterday you would have heard a number of announcements in terms of measures not only for your sector but for the entire productive sector. I want to say to you that I wish we could do more at this time. I am not going to regale you with the current situation of what we met but just to give you one example, from the capital programme alone, we have to deal with more than $20B of liabilities that is expenditure incurred by the Government that has not been paid for [and] that is there that has not been budgeted for. Even in bringing these incentives to the Productive Sector and the people of the country, it required the reprogramming of resources and some borrowing,” President Ali explained.
The Head of State said his administration’s efforts will be geared towards giving miners back the ability to return to the sector, to re-capitalise machinery, equipment and to remove the bureaucratic measures which cost them money and reduce their efficiency.
“We are aware that over the last couple of years, a lot has been done that was not positive, that has resulted in a lot of idle assets and de-accumulation of capital assets. Right now, you need a lot of re-capitalisation. As a result, many of the medium and small operators are left non- operational. Even though they still have an interest, they are not operating at the moment,” the President said.
He assured that his Government’s intention is to increase production, to work on securing the environment as well as encouraging investments in other sectors of the economy.
The Head of State said, “We have to do what is right for our country now and in the future. We can only do so if we work together. There is no sense for half of the sector to be doing the right thing and half not to, because it is the entire sector that is penalised at the end of the day. I want us to not only work on these measures but to see how we can ensure that we have true declarations, to ensure that productions go up to make use of the process that are on the market now and then how I can help you miners to invest in other areas of the economy. When you get windfall resources, you need to redirect resources into more stable, long term sustainable types of investment in the economy.”
President Ali thanked the participants in advance for their openness, objectiveness and frankness as they continue to collaborate towards the advancement of the sector.
Meanwhile, Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharat, noted that his Ministry will work with everyone to address all issues raised to boost productivity.
He also assured that the administration will not neglect the traditional sectors for oil and gas.
The President of the GGDMA, Andro Alphonso thanked the President for the recently announced measures on behalf of the members of the Association.
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