PSC Chairman perceives upswing for private companies from oil money

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The Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Paul Cheong, has said the government’s ideas for use of the country’s oil funds will greatly benefit the private sector.

Cheong was an invited guest on the virtual programme- the Guyana Dialogue- on Thursday when he said the projects, especially the gas to shore project, will create additional economic value for businesses.

The government, through the Cabinet, on Thursday issued its no objection to the construction of the 300 megawatts natural gas-fired power plant as part of the Gas-to-Shore project at Wales, West Bank Demerara.

While responding to a question posed concerning the project, Cheong said the project will greatly lower energy costs.

“We believe that the gas to shore is a transformative project and we need to move on with it.

“We produce a lot of agriculture products that go to waste because we don’t have the energy – the cost of energy is high and we can’t afford to convert them into higher value products. With cheaper energy, that will become a possibility.”

Further, he said the government’s spending on the development of several sectors will lead to the growth of businesses.

“…we believe we need to build the sustainable part of our economy…we need to build more roads and bridges and create the environment so that businesses can grow and thrive and the agriculture sector, the tourism sector forestry sector…can expand,” Cheong related.

Upon being elected into government, the Peoples Progressive Party Civic immediately rolled out the $25,000 COVID cash grant for every household in response to the financial hardships citizens faced amid the pandemic.

Soon after several other cash grants were distributed to ease the burden of citizens although the government had not tapped monies set aside in the oil fund until mid- 2022.

Cheong said these efforts to assist the affected citizens of the country will aid in forming a strong economy which will then increase the country’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP).

“All those are important things and they do have a lot of spin off effects on the wider economy because as the disposable income increases, they’ll spend more and that will have a multiply effect on businesses. So all those are good programmes. We need to continue to work and build a diverse strong sustainable economy. I think that is the area that the government has been going in and we fully support that,” Cheong said.

Already, the government has said it intends to spend a majority of its early windfall from oil and gas on development projects. In July, US$200 million equivalent to G$41.6 billion was transferred from the Natural Resource Fund to the Consolidated Fund to finance these national development priorities.

The government made its first withdrawal of US$200 million equivalent to G$41.7 billion earlier in the year, bringing the accumulated withdrawals from the NRF to US$400 million, equivalent to G$83.3 billion.

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