Guyana needs foreign input but citizens should benefit from improved infrastructure, cash transfers – Duque


By Kurt Campbell

A distinguished fellow of several international institutions, including the Wilson Centre, former President of Colombia, Ivan Duque believes Guyana has a golden opportunity to show the world how it can turn its fortunes around for the better with its new found oil wealth.

Although he supports Guyana’s local content law, he does not believe it should be used to restrict foreign participation in the local sector and believes oil funds should be spent on accelerating infrastructural development, while at the same time, expanding the social safety net.

Regarded as a global expert on issues like sustainability and green finance, Duque told the News Room on Monday that Guyana’s best bet for development and meeting the sustainable development goals is through public/private partnerships.

Regarding the private sector as a faster executer, the former Colombian leader said oil funds should be invested rapidly in the infrastructure that the country needs.

“The private sector can take higher risks and invest in road and energy infrastructure, hospitals and education.

“Public private partnerships are the best way to consolidate that purpose,” Duque told the News Room on Monday at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown where Guyana will host a massive international energy conference.

But he also made a case for expanding the social safety net and one way to do that is through conditional and non-conditional cash transfers for the poorest of the poor.

“The government must provide resources to raise capacity of income and expenditure.

“It’s an easy way to have better distribution of oil money. In my opinion, if you do both things – accelerate infrastructure and expand social safety net – it’s a great way to generate a sense of welfare,” he explained.

With a background not only in finance, having served previously as Colombia’s Finance Minister and then at the Inter American Development Bank, Duque is also a lawyer.

It is to this end that he has commended the government on its local content policy.

He said the wider debate for and against the policy tends to become politicised and polarising and this shouldn’t be.

Duque believes Guyana should remain open to the presence of foreigners, but at the same time, develop a good migration policy to ensure that they don’t crowd out the opportunities for locals.

If Guyana is not welcoming to outside input, he said things might become retarded over time and development projects can lag.

1 Comment
  1. Derk says

    I do entirely agree with this view as it is focused on the bright side as Guyana
    progressed on its present growth towards economic and human development.
    I wish all those who are interested in Guyana’s prosperity view these considerations through the ‘One Guyana ‘ lenses and concentrate on what unites.
    ‘Let build Guyana’.

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