In 2017, Guyana was ranked 124 out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business survey. This score was seen as a marked improvement from the ranking of 140 in 2016. While this must be acknowledged, Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest), Owen Verwey said, that there remains much room for improvement.
In an interview with the Guyana Standard Verwey said, “Yes we must be proud of the upward movement on the World Bank survey. But there is a lot more we have to improve on. Bear in mind, we only moved up because of the addition of a credit bureau and improvements in the ease of getting electricity.”
The CEO continued, “But we still have to improve the conditions for investment and growth. We still have to address revising the legal and regulatory framework to improve business, mechanisms for formalizing informal economic activities, investment promotion instruments, and international trade and investment agreements.”
He added, “We also need productivity-enhancing reforms to improve competitiveness and facilitate inclusive growth. And then you still have infrastructural bottlenecks and high energy costs which remain obstacles to overall growth.”
Verwey said that accessing Guyana’s natural gas for power generation could provide a cleaner and more affordable energy alternative, meeting immediate needs while renewable energy initiatives are pursued.
He said, too, that there is a need to make tough and unpopular decisions to safeguard the economic health of the nation. On this premise, Verwey said he welcomed the ongoing restructuring of the sugar sector, but underscored the importance of training displaced workers and providing an adequate safety net to contain the economic and social costs.