Companies being incentivised to lay fibre optic cables countrywide – Jagdeo

…as additional 1000 jobs launched in Region 5

In an effort to boost Information and Communication Technology (ICT) access countrywide, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government has been encouraging and incentivizing companies to lay fibre optic cables across the country.
The Vice President was at the time addressing residents during a meeting at the Community Centre Ground in Paradise, Region Five, on Saturday. At the time, he was meeting with beneficiaries of the Government’s part time jobs initiative, which was extended to cater for an additional 1,000 persons in the region.
“Right now, if anyone wants to build a factory or a call center here, like we’re now building one in Essequibo coast, we’ll build the factory shell and then have people operate the factory. So, then they can create the jobs. And in this region too, that is a business,” Jagdeo said.
According to Jagdeo, potential investors can apply to the government to receive the support of the state. The Vice President noted that the aim is to diversify the job market. This includes introducing more Information Communication Technology (ICT) investments.
“Because ICT is a good industry, to occupy a lot of young people who may not want to go into agriculture. Now, we have been incentivizing people to lay fibre optic cables across the country, to bring in greater capacity and to lay them across.”
“That means greater bandwidth and high-speed internet across the communities. Because if you’re going to run a programme like that, you need quality infrastructure on the ICT side. So, we’re working at getting that going.”
During a previous visit to Region Five earlier this month, Jagdeo had said that the administration is now targeting 10,000 persons to provide these jobs to. The Vice President had also emphasized that the initiative is meant to provide people with extra income, while they seek to improve themselves.
Jagdeo had announced at the time that over 1,000 persons would benefit from the programme in Region Five. But countrywide, the number of persons expected to benefit has risen from the 8000 quoted earlier this year, to 10,000.
According to the Vice President, these 10,000 persons will be expected to make full use of the programme. He had explained that it is designed in a way to minimize the need for persons to travel far distances.
“This initiative is to give people an opportunity to get an income, while they are studying or looking at something else. And there’s going to be 10,000 Guyanese. In this room we probably have 200 people. So, imagine what 10,000 looks like. So, 10,000 of our people working through this programme.”
“So, I hope that all of you make full use of this programme. This is not free money. You have to work for 10 months. But we will ensure that you’re placed in an area that minimizes you having to travel and all of that. So, when we designed the programme, we designed it in a manner where you can be placed in government facilities close to you and even private facilities that perform a social function.”
Examples Jagdeo provided of this are day care facilities. Jagdeo also noted that from the time they are employed, these persons will become employees of the government. Persons in Region Five registered for the jobs and signed their contracts to begin work during the Vice President’s visit.
Jagdeo also explained that pre-COVID, Guyana lost some 35,000 jobs under the previous government, while heavy taxation and the unconscionable shutdown of the sugar industry imposed undue hardships on the citizens.
The situation was exacerbated when the pandemic hit and the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) shut down the country, resulting in the loss of another 35,000 to 40,000 jobs. In light of this inherited situation, the VP explained to the crowd that the government has put mechanisms in place to reduce the economic impacts on Guyanese.
An estimated 50,000 jobs were already lost from different sectors during the reign of the previous APNU/AFC Administration, the majority from the sugar industry. Additionally, between 35,000 to 40,000 persons were made jobless when the country was locked down for about one year.
In the period leading up March 2020 National Elections, the now ruling PPP/C while on the campaign trail had promised to create 50,000 during its five-year term. The party had promised that sugar workers would have gotten back their jobs.
Previously, Jagdeo had said that there is a lack of skilled labour and Government is putting things in place to address this. This is being done by offering training for persons. The former Head of State pointed out that while there is a labour shortage in Region Four, Region Five and Six have a shortage of skilled labour.