Oil money needs to be spent on increasing labour force participation – UWI Lecturer


As the local economy continues to expand, demanding a larger workforce, Trinidadian Lecturer Dr. Roger Hosein is urging that monies be spent on increasing labour force participation.

Hosein Thursday delivered a lecture titled “Critical considerations for the economic success of Guyana in the context of its pending petroleum boom” at the Herdmaston Lodge in Georgetown. The lecture was organized by the University of Guyana.

Dr. Hosein, Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of the Trade and Economics Development Unit at the University of the West Indies, noted that a small labour force will not be able to meet increasing demands.

“Some of the oil money needs to be used in a manner and form to increase the labour force participation rate because with a low labour force participation rate, you have a high dependency ratio,” he told those gathered at the event.

He pointed to the Guyana Labour Force survey done in the fourth quarter of 2017 which found that the labour force comprises of 298, 844 persons while the population above age 15 stood at 547,928.

Dr. Hosein pointed out that the country is at an advantage since it has a high youth population- 20% in the age group of 15-24 and 37% from ages 27-54 –giving policy makers adequate time to plan at the level of the universities.

“You have time to plan and think ahead and strategise on what do I do with a young population in the context of a massive boom spread over 15 to 20 years,” he told the gathering.

He outlined that in the first year of oil production, persons will be migrating from the manufacturing and services sector towards the oil and gas industry. As this occur, there will be need for persons to keep the traditional sectors running so as to contribute to overall economic development.

Additionally, he noted that over time the manufacturing sector will contract and this “is no big deal,” unless it contracts prematurely.

“The manufacturing sector contracts- over time, all the developed economies in the world move from agriculture, to manufacturing to services.”

At another forum, also on Thursday, Country representative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Sophie Makonnen noted that over the next five years, the IMF projects the economy will grow at an average annual rate of 19% and government revenues at 16%.

She noted that if managed well, this greater economic activity and new government revenues could give Guyana the opportunity to take sure steps towards addressing key development challenges and promote greater economic diversification.

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