If it could start the development of its industry all over again, Trinidadian officials say that a diversification policy to ensure the stabilization of the economy would have been treated as a top priority. Specifically making this point during an interview with the Guyana Standard was former Energy Minister of the Twin Island Republic, Kevin Ramnarine.

The official said that in a matter of months, Guyana’s economy is going to become heavily dependent on oil revenue, therefore, making it susceptible to price shocks in the industry. He said that TT paid dearly for this while reminding that the sharp decline in oil prices between 2004 and 2016 significantly affected the economy. Also taking a hit were other major oil-producing nations like Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Ramnarine said, “So given this risk of being susceptible now that you are a major earner of revenue from oil it is going to be very incumbent to have a policy that maintains diversification of the economy. And lucky for Guyana, the stage is already set. There is mining, manufacturing, and agriculture but the policy has to help you build on this foundation.”

In the absence of this, Ramnarine said it is more likely that the Dutch disease could set in quickly. He said that this will see the movement of labour from the non-booming sectors to the services sector.

The former Minister said, “This happened to us from 2001 to 2010 and it also happened to us in the first oil boom from1973 to 1982. Guyana has to come up with a strategy to preserve its traditional sectors such as agriculture. A policy has to be put in place swiftly.”

Ramnarine recommended that attention be given to providing infrastructural support to the agriculture sector while using some of the revenues to retool the education sector in preparation for the next generation of skills that would be needed for the age of big data and analytics.

Guyana Standard made several attempts to contact the Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder on his plans for such a policy but those efforts proved futile. This news agency was able to confirm however that no such document has been presented to Cabinet for consideration.

In the meantime, first oil is poised to start in a matter of weeks.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here