Mining, quarrying sectors set for massive expansion – GMSA President

…says forestry, services sectors also on upward trajectory

Recent developments in the gold mining sector, as well as the quarrying sector, augur well for Guyana’s economic prospects and growth in these sectors. This is according to Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) President Rafeek Khan.

GMSA President Rafeek Khan

During the GMSA’s mid-year dinner on Tuesday, Khan gave his outlook on the economy. For one, he was optimistic about the recent news that two gold companies in Guyana are either slated to start exploration soon or are currently doing preparatory work. Khan was also optimistic about the forestry sector, in which he is personally involved.
“We’re going to see the mining sector (increasing). Today I saw on the news, two new companies coming in to build capacity. The mining sector has been down. The gold production has been down. But we anticipate, with the building of capacity and investments coming in to the country, we’re going to see those sectors increasing,” Khan said.
“The forestry sector, which I’m actually part of, has actually increased its production, despite the challenges, by 25 per cent to date. We have increased exports by 30 per cent. So, those are some good indicators that we see happening.”
It was revealed by Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat recently that Barrick Gold would be starting exploration soon. Further, ETK Incorporated in partnership with Gran Colombia would also be doing work on the Toroparu mine.
Khan meanwhile also spoke about the pharmaceutical sector, noting that with eight hospitals planned for the country and US$180 million expected to be spent on hospitals, the pharmaceutical sector is likely to be increased.
According to Khan, the oil and gas sector will drive economic expansion in the non-oil sector, including in agriculture and construction.
“As the President has been promoting bilateral trade within the Caribbean, food security and housing, apart from oil and gas, those two sectors are going to drive the economy. Food security moves into a whole array of services, not just the manufacturing and production of food.”
“I heard the quarry sector, the Government has issued 10 quarry licences. The country has an annual demand of 1.5 (million) metric tonnes. And we’re importing 300 (thousand) metric tonnes of that. Eventually, we’re going to see the quarry sector increasing,” Khan further said.
The GMSA President also touched on the services sector, which he noted encompassed from tourism to consultancies. In fact, he noted that the GMSA has seen increased membership in the services sector, including in consultancies, accountancy, and environmental or architectural services. This sector, he noted, is one that is also on a rapid growth path.
The World Bank had estimated earlier this year that Guyana’s 2023 economic growth rate would be over 34 per cent. According to its semi-annual report for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) called “Consolidating the Recovery; Seizing Green Growth Opportunities”, which was released in April, Guyana will register a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 34.3 per cent in 2023.
This rate of growth is actually the most in the LAC region and the only one in double figures, once again highlighting the importance of oil exploration to the economy. The second highest growth rate projected for next year is St Vincent and the Grenadines, at 7.3 per cent.
When it comes to the forecast for 2022, the World Bank had projected an economic growth rate of 47.9 per cent for Guyana. In this case, only Barbados, with a projected growth rate of 11.2 per cent for 2022, also crosses over into double figures.
Since these projections, however, the Government, through Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance in the Office of the President, Dr Ashni Singh, has actually upped the growth projections.
While addressing the Guyana-Saudi Arabia Investment Engagement that was held in the dome of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Saturday, Singh had revealed that the projected growth for Guyana is now 57.8 per cent. According to him, Guyana’s economic growth will outperform both regional and global averages.