Even as Guyana steers most of its energy towards ramping up preparations for oil production, it must not lose sight of improving its business climate and expanding other traditional sectors. Otherwise, it can end up with a largely inefficient economy. This was recently noted by IMF Mission Chief to Guyana, Andrew McIntyre.
During a discussion with Caribbean Economist and Advisor, Marla Dukharan, the official spoke about the strategy Guyana needs to adopt for the non-oil sector while drawing on the mistakes that were made by its CARICOM sister, Trinidad and Tobago in this regard.
Along with the need to improve the productivity of other sectors, McIntyre stressed that attention must be given to enhancing the business environment.
The official said, “One cannot sit on one’s laurels. You have to continue to pursue the structural reform of the other sectors and improve the business environment. Throughout the Caribbean, there is a real challenge between the interface of the public and private sectors in the whole question of economic regulation, the length of time it takes to get registration done, licenses and approvals.”
McIntyre added, “It tends to be lengthy and increase costs for businesses. So Guyana cannot take its eye off those things. The Doing Business Index is a guide to where you are with that so they can follow. And a lot of these things in the Caribbean generally need to be IT-based, a lot is still paper-based…Guyana needs to invest in modernizing its public service systems because it goes a long way in improving the quality of the business environment as well as the competitiveness.”
Further to this, the IMF Mission Chief underscored the need for improving the education and training institutions to ensure productivity increases via a higher quality of skilled labour.
In concluding his thoughts on this issue, McIntyre warned once more that if the foregoing matters are not addressed and the focus remains only on oil, then Guyana risks becoming a “monoculture” where one sector is booming while the rest of the economy is largely inefficient.