With cheap electricity promised, Bharrat challenges investors in forestry to go beyond raw products  


Following a recent call for businesses operating within the forestry sector to improve their raw products through manufacturing, Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat has assured of the government’s interventions to reduce production costs.

The minister’s call for augmented products in forestry and all other sectors was made on International Day of Forests, March 21. He explained that the aim is to make the sector a viable contributor to the country’s development.

Minister Bharrat was a guest on the programme – Guyana Dialogue – on Thursday last and noted that businesses operating in the natural resources sector have raised the issue of electricity and the associated high cost to invest.

Constant power outages are among the causes of major distress to many businesses and residents. Many of the stakeholders raised the issue of cheap electricity when they are asked to go into valued added, the minister said.

He hailed the gas-to-energy project at Wales, West Bank Demerara as one of the solutions to the problem.

“One stakeholder in the forestry sector said they cannot afford $1.5 million a month in electricity bill to go into value added that is why this gas to energy project is so important. Because we need to build our manufacturing sector to benefit us,” the Minister of Natural Resources said.

Preliminary Artist’s Impression of Natural Gas Plant that is slated for Wales, West Bank Demerara. (Source: EEPGL)

In this regard, the minister is positive that the project will be a major contributor to reduce costs of production across the manufacturing and even agro-processing sectors.  The Wales Gas-to-Energy project is the single largest investment made in Guyana’s electricity sector. The 2023 National Budget allocates $43.4 billion to facilitate construction of the power plant and associated facilities there.

Through this project, a natural gas liquid and a power plant will be constructed. Natural gas produced offshore in the prolific Stabroek Block will be brought onshore to fire those plants.

“The gas to energy project is the game changer for Guyana, it will be the most transformational project we will ever see in the history of our country because we have always suffered from the high cost of electricity and the reliability of electricity in Guyana,” Minister Bharrat said.

Earlier this week, Minister Bharrat advocated for businesses to create by products of the natural resource they use to operate as a means of increasing the industry’s economical contributions to the country’s gross domestic product.

“We have to keep the forestry sector viable. It is important and if you look at the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCSD) it speaks towards sustainable and responsible logging and mining activities.

“So, how do we achieve that? We achieve that by ensure g that we move towards value added,” the Minister of Natural Resources on International Day of Forests.

It should be noted that a $900 million forestry revolving fund was also officially launched to support small loggers and saw millers and to encourage them to invest in improved machinery and equipment.

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