Benefits from oil and gas will be geographically decentralised -Finance Minister

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh said thousands of Guyanese are already seeing the benefits of the oil and gas sector, whether directly or indirectly, and while most of those benefitting are in Regions Three and Four, this will soon change.

“It is for that reason that we have committed ourselves to ensuring that the economic development that will flow from oil and gas that it is geographically decentralised,” Dr. Singh noted.

He stated that this is the reason for the President’s recent announcement of major investments in Berbice like the new commercial centre, and provision for co-investments in other regions of Guyana.

Speaking with DPI recently, Dr. Singh stated, “We want to make sure that in those regions too, the positive consequences of the oil and gas sector are visible and are felt. We want young people in Berbice and in Essequibo and in Linden and in our hinterland regions, all of our hinterland regions to also see and experience and participate in and benefit from what’s happening in the oil and gas sector.

Speaking about ways in which citizens are benefitting from the sector, Dr. Singh stated, “ the benefits of the oil and gas sector are already being seen through multiple channels, through the jobs that are being created, through the private sector expansion that we are witnessing, and through the public expenditure that we are able to incur as a result of the expansion of the economy, and as the result of the mobilising of our oil revenues.”

He said hundreds of young Guyanese are either employed by ExxonMobil or one of their many contractors, and have received training both locally and internationally.

The minister noted that the onshore companies such as Guyana Shore Base Inc., Saipem, SBM Offshore, Baker Hughes Guyana and others continue to employ and train Guyanese.

“All of these are major international companies. They are big players globally, they have come to Guyana, they have established operations; they are recruiting Guyanese people; they are training Guyanese people and Guyanese people are accumulating expertise, and that expertise will redound not only to their benefit today, in terms of the job that they are doing, but will redound to their individual benefit in the long – term.”

In addition, providers of goods and services are also benefitting.

He noted too, that the Natural Resources Fund and allocations from the 2022 budget have laid the foundation for major transformational projects.

“We are planning a major infrastructural transformation, major highways, including the Linden to Mabura Road and the 32 concrete bridges from Kurupukari to Lethem, the overhaul of the Corentyne highway, the new Demerara River Bridge and the gas to shore project,” Dr. Singh noted.

The Local Content Legislation also makes provision for a minimum threshold in 40 key areas which, Dr. Singh said, is already generating business opportunities.

Meanwhile, the senior minister is urging Guyanese to prepare themselves to benefit from the opportunities by taking advantage of skills and other training opportunities in which the government is investing.

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