Cheap power brings opportunities, investments – Vickram Bharrat
…as energy conference places spotlight on energy, partnerships
Stepping into the role of an oil-producing nation will have its towering benefits but there is also the need for development across the other sectors and addressing challenges in the current operation.
The launch of the Guyana Energy Conference and Exhibition 2021 on Monday at Pegasus Hotel brought focus on these gaps and provided a wider conversation on the need for public-private partnerships, local content, reliable energy and other factors that will essentially put Guyana on the cusp of greater success.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Chief Executive Officer of GO-Invest, Dr Peter Ramsaroop said Government is continuously preparing to ensure that Guyanese benefit from the windfall of oil resources. While he found that collaboration can influence profitability, Ramsaroop noted that the conditions should be welcoming for investors to expand into other industries.
“When you consider our President’s vision for Guyana, this transformative and economic agenda that he has proposed, Government’s involvement with the Private Sector is a partnership. Partnership is what will make the next step in Guyana profitable…We want to ensure that our current foreign direct investors in Guyana are treated well and we look forward for them to get out and expand more into energy, agriculture and that’s why some of Government’s initiatives in expanding the infrastructure is a convergence,” the GO-Invest CEO highlighted.
Coupled with this, the conference is seeking to attract a wider discourse on how sustainable and reliable energy can become reality. President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nicholas Boyer said this is especially important for persons in the agro-processing department.
“The word energy is not just a buzz word being this. It’s meant to be a wider conversation. It’s not just about how can we provide logistic services to the upstream companies. It is about how do we get reliable and stable supply of energy to the agro-processor start-ups. What happens when you have coconuts in a freezing room and you run out of power? It’s also meant to be a discussion on some of the gaps like renewables.”
While acknowledging the challenges in establishing infrastructure throughout Guyana’s vast lands, he spoke on the need to “harness upstream oil and gas”, since it will create a “new wave of industrialisation” in the country and push development in other sectors.
“Too long have Guyanese businesses been limited by the cost of energy and that really results from both developmental and administrative challenges. In Guyana, we’re taking a population of less than a million that is spread over acreages that could encompass most of the Caribbean islands and we have to provide infrastructure. That’s no easy task,” Boyer added.
Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat in his feature address identified that the country has always suffered from the cost of power generation – a great hindrance to development. He said Budget 2021 lays the foundation to alleviate such matters.
He told the gathering, “Our Government would have recognised that and we need to address it and address it as early as possible. With cheap power comes so many opportunities and investments that will come to our shores in Guyana and which we are preparing for presently…The next five years is an exciting period in the history of our country where every single Guyanese will benefit from our developmental project.”
He said the PPP/C Administration has no apologies for incentivising the Private Sector because it is a partner that will allow for expansion of the traditional sectors.
“The Government cannot develop the country alone. The Government cannot employ every single Guyanese. We need the Private Sector. We need the foreign investors to come to our shores and we will continue to partner with the foreign investors and local Private Sector to ensure that we move all of our sectors forward…We are not only focusing on our new and dynamic sector, which is oil and gas. We’re also focusing a lot on our traditional productive sectors.”
Meanwhile, ExxonMobil (Guyana) President Alistair Routledge lauded the unprecedented progress which Guyana has made in local content development within a short period of time. He pointed towards increasing competitiveness as the cornerstone in creating a sustainable economy.
“This will [provide] a wonderful opportunity to bring people together to collaborate from Government, from industries, Private Sector organisations and very importantly, education and training. That is something that will ultimately make Guyana competitive. The world is a competitive place so building the competitiveness of Guyana overall and local businesses individually is really about what will make the local economy sustainable,” Routledge said. (G12)