Nov 17, 2022 News
– as major partnership agreement signed
Kaieteur News – Governments of Guyana and the United Kingdom are expected to deepen their investment relations in a number of areas following the signing of a major partnership pact yesterday at the Marriott Hotel.
The agreement was signed by Foreign Affairs Minister, Hugh Todd, British High Commissioner, Jane Miller and Jonathan Knott, His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The UK Trade Mission which was present at the event to learn of Guyana’s vision for development over the next five years included scores of businesses with experience in renewable energy, agriculture, technological services, education, infrastructure, and of course, critical oil and gas matters.
President, Dr. Irfaan Ali who participated in the technical discussions so as to outline a plan of action with timelines between the two global players, was keen to point out to the British team that now is the time to get on the investment train in Guyana. The Head of State shared that the country is pregnant with numerous opportunities for development in several areas such as its prospective and lucrative oil and gas sector.
He was keen to note that Government is pushing for investments in technology transfers to improve government systems and efficiencies. He said this is critical to the world class business environment he is desirous of establishing. In this regard, the President said work is moving forward for the development of a single window application for construction permits.
Ali also said his Government is keen on fortifying its research and development services, healthcare, education, landscape, infrastructure, food security and tourism industries. Ali said, “Those are the platforms that will be given further special treatment.” He encouraged the companies to channel their interests in these sectors.
As a further enticement, Ali said when the gas-to-energy project comes on stream by 2025; the country will see a tectonic shift in its development trajectory as electricity costs will be slashed by 50 percent. Ali said, “You don’t want to wait until then to jump on board. You need to understand the geographical significance of Guyana…Guyana is going to become a major industrial, manufacturing and agro processing hub and we are going to give incentives during this phase of development to investors. That phase won’t last forever. So take advantage of it now.”
While the Government’s vision is to have investments in an array of sectors, he was keen to entice the Trade Mission with potential benefits that can accrue to them in being part of Guyana’s oil sector too.
Ali said, “We are going out for some auctions now and if you have joint consortiums that are interested then definitely take a shot at it but even without the 14 blocks that will be up for grabs, what is happening at the Stabroek Block alone is marking our name in the oil industry.” He said Guyana’s energy footprint will also take on a new dimension when its National Gas Strategy is completed.
With European nations being hard hit by the Russia-Ukraine war, Ali alluded that Guyana with its huge gas reservoirs being unlocked can be an ample solution to be considered.
“There are definitely ways in Guyana in which even your energy security can be secured. The transition will happen, oil still has a long enough play in the market but the problem is avoiding going back to coal. The lesser harm is gas. But where you get it from it’s the matter of contention. At the end of the day we want to have a system of investment in which families, people become prosperous,” the Head of State noted.
During his remarks, Jonathan Knott, His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean, said the UK shares the Head of State’s vision for Guyana to become a hub for investment. Knott said, “We are here to deepen the ties with Guyana and guarantee a high quality of the support. We are looking at a range of sectors and the delivery of specific programmes. We hope to establish a UK-Guyana joint working group which will define and deliver a time bound action plan. I emphasize this because we are anxious or rather impatient to make progress.”
While the UK will offer excellent value and expertise, he assured that its companies will not compromise on quality. “We are not going to come here to sell and leave. We are here for the long term and to work with your Government and country for its development and progress,” the official concluded.
The forum also featured presentations by Sector Leads and UK Industry, as well as Ministerial interventions and discussions in several priority areas, including infrastructure, housing, education and agriculture. Several Ministers of the Government attended the forum, including the Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, the Dr. Ashni Singh.
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