Gov’t on ‘rapid development agenda’ but labour shortages a concern- President Ali

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It has been three years since President Dr. Irfaan Ali was officially sworn-in and though he says his government is focused on advancing development, he acknowledged that labour shortages are a concern.

“I think we set ourselves to a very rapid agenda for development that requires strong time management,” President Ali said during an interview with the News Room for his three-year anniversary.

Among the plans his government is pursuing, in keeping with the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) manifesto published ahead of the 2020 General and Regional Elections, are an ambitious housing drive to distribute 50,000 house lots, executing massive infrastructural projects and developing top quality health and education systems.

He, however, explained that pursuing that developmental agenda is a “huge challenge especially in a country where the human resource pool is not large.”

The News Room’s Fareeza Haniff engaged President Dr. Irfaan Ali about his three years in office so far

The concerns he hinted at have been increasingly discussed by members of government and private sector players. It is believed that many productive sectors are rapidly expanding but there isn’t enough labour, or skilled labour, to meet local needs.

Among the solutions recently floated by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh is that companies can invest in accommodation options or transportation services to attract much-needed workers.

Aside from the labour concerns, Dr. Ali reminded Guyanese that he was elected President during a tumultuous period. That is, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional external shocks, like the Ukraine/ Russia war, exacerbated economic conditions.

Dr. Ali, however, believes that his government has been working to fulfil its manifesto promises and manage newfound oil and gas wealth while grappling with those external shocks.

And he said isn’t daunted by harsh critics or naysayers.

“I am not spending my time analysing the negativity that comes with the venomous pen or the blessed intellectualism that doesn’t exist.

“We went to the polls with a manifesto and have a responsibility to fulfil that,” the Head of State said.

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