Concerns being raised about the oil industry and its impact on the local economy

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Mark Murray

Several concerns are being raised about the oil industry and its impact on the local economy especially when it comes to the survival of the traditional sectors.

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) President, Vishnu Doerga believes that with the increase in services and indirect employment from the oil industry, more education and skill transfer would be needed.

 

Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) President, Vishnu Doerga

He said “value-added starts with the individual, no one can add more value if they haven’t gotten the knowledge to do so, it starts with individuals which then contribute to organizations, which then contributes to the products that the organizations can provide to the market, so its process that can take years, so if companies are serious and ready for what is to come in the future but time is yesterday to start getting ready.”

 

The GCCI President also cautioned that government should not allow the new industry to stifle the traditional sectors which could have an economic shock.

He is of the view that Guyana should be in a better position compared to other developing countries that produces oil because of the experiences with world prices for gold.

He noted that “making sure that our major sectors remain vibrant and that we continue to add new sectors is the best way to strengthen the economy, it’s gonna be tough fighting the tendency for everyone wanting to go and service a particular industry”. He added that “it’s a free market, so it means also that incentives programs would have to be set up to keep stimulating other industries because oil prices will not always be high, no commodity.”

Doerga acknowledged that the oil industry will bring with it an increase in services and some amount of employment for Guyanese in “various services, air freight, boats, taxis, entertainment and maybe some workshops.”

Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran

Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran on Sunday said there is a need for government to also reach out early to the Opposition on issues surrounding the country’s future oil industry.

The Speaker made this suggestion on his blog the Conversation Tree under the title ‘Oil and Some of its Consequences’ on Saturday.

Ramkarran also believes the most important issue the country could soon face is how to ensure that Guyana’s agriculture, mining and forestry industries are sustained, that agri-based industries, in which Guyana has great potential and other industries, such as in information technology and otherwise, are developed.

The need for labour also increases and the pay is much higher than the workers obtain as agricultural workers. They leave for the higher pay. Shortage of labour can kill agriculture, mining and forestry said Ramkarran.

If the Government wishes Guyana to avoid the fate of so many other countries, it has to start planning now the Former Speaker added.

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