“Your investments will be safe” – VP tells international companies

Investors coming into Guyana for potential opportunities as the country maps out a robust economy driven by its oil wealth have been assured that investments will be safe here.

A section of the gathering at the conference on Tuesday

Making this commitment was Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo as Day Two of the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo got underway on Tuesday. This third edition of the conference is being held under the theme: Fuelling Transformation and Modernisation.
Jagdeo pointed out that Guyana is not aiming to be the next Qatar or United Arab Emirates (UAE) but rather, will be guided by its own model which addresses the needs of investors while enhancing the lives of citizens.
He disclosed, “I want to assure you that your investments in this country will be safe. You’d have a government that balances the needs of investors and need to earn and do well with the task of ensuring that the country benefits more too. We’re not going to be Qatar or UAE. We don’t want to be…Our model will be different. It will be a model where the people of this country will enjoy in the future, some of the best standard of living that you can experience anywhere in the world.”
Despite hikes in both public and private spending, the Vice President addressed concerns regarding the country’s inflation and exchange rate – both of which have remained steady.
“We have increased our budget significantly. We have a massive private sector spending and the two together would lead to overheating of the economy but yet, our inflation rate is below regional average. And the exchange rate has not appreciated nor has it depreciated significantly. It is a free-floating exchange rate. It is depending on supply and demand for currency. So, we have been tackling that variable, it is important to us.”
“We welcome the investments from foreign companies. We have worked dedicatedly over a number of years to create an environment so that people who come to this country can earn a good return on their capital and contribute to the development of our country,” the VP underscored.
For those who have lamented that Government has been borrowing too much, Jagdeo reiterated that Guyana has one of the lowest debt to GDP ratio as well as debt to servicing ratio in the world.
The former Head of State voiced, “Our external debt, with a US$22 billion economy is lower in nominal terms than our debt in 1990. Just think about that. It’s US$1.8 billion in nominal terms. At that time, the economy was US$300 million. So, our capacity to borrow is enhanced but we’re not splurging on it. Almost all of our debt so far is on fixed terms.”

Renewable energy investments
Meanwhile, Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat contended that there is stability and predictability in Guyana for those willing to partner.
Turning to his portfolio, the Minister also contributed to the burning topics of energy transition, cutting emissions and maintaining Guyana’s carbon-negative status. Bharrat voiced that there must be a just and equitable transition, where accessibility and affordability are guiding pillars in the energy security rollout. This is especially the case with regions such as Caricom which require US$14 billion for this transition.
The Natural Resources Minister highlighted that there are major gaps in investments for renewables, and countries such as Guyana should be able to harness its natural resources to make this transition in keeping with global commitments.

Bharrat told the audience, “We must be allowed too, to develop our natural resources in a sustainable, responsible manner so that we get the resources to transition to renewable energy. Otherwise, we will never achieve the target of 100 percent renewable by 2050.”
He further explained, “When we speak of energy security, we must always think of accessibility and affordability…Today, we are told that we need to move away from fossil fuel and that we need to achieve 100 percent renewable energy but is there enough investment in moving towards renewable energy? Is there enough resources being made available? If you ask any country in the world what is their challenge in moving fast towards renewable energy, there is one answer: resources, financing and money. It’s costly.”
country’s energy capacity. These include the 300 MW gas-to-energy project which, when it comes online, could see Guyana saving between US$150 million and US$200 million in foreign currency that would otherwise have been invested in the country’s fuel importation. At the same time, the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project is being pursued.
Just a few months ago at COP28, Guyana used its platform in Dubai to emphasise the stark reality that persisting with a doctrinarian approach will not lead to the achievement of net-zero goals. While Guyana is capable of making investments in renewables, it was highlighted that this is not the same for many countries in the region. (G12)