“Nothing is being done to improve it now so what will become of the manufacturing sector when oil comes on stream? What will happen to rice, bauxite, and forestry? We don’t know what this administration is up to and we are worried.”
Those sentiments were expressed by President of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), Shyam Nokta during an interview with the Guyana Standard. The businessman stressed that oil could potentially transform the country’s traditional sectors or “make them fade into the background and that is what we are afraid of.”
Nokta said, “How we manage the revenues from oil and gas will determine the success of the other sectors. We need to hear from the government, what portion of the money will be used to diversify struggling industries like the manufacturing sector. Will they give us more incentives? Will they put aside money to help more persons kick-start businesses geared at manufacturing? What is the plan?”
The GMSA President opined that this is going to be a crucial matter going forward. He noted that the Association will be hosting an important discussion on the Natural Resource Fund on Thursday where government officials will be present.
“I am hoping we can use this forum to identify what actions the government would be taking to transform traditional sectors,” Nokta added.
Further to this, the businessman said that for years, Guyana has felt the consequences of relying on one sector to boost economic growth. He said that this can be seen in the case of bauxite and sugar. Nokta said, “Government depended on these two sectors heavily at different times and now the sectors are tired. We can’t continue to have the economy stand on one leg all the time.”
The GMSA President warned that Guyana can easily “feel the squeeze” if the Government falls into the trap of relying on oil to save Guyana.
Nokta also shared that Nigeria is one of the many countries witnessing the death of its manufacturing sector due to its heavy reliance on oil and failure to diversify other sectors.