Georgetown, Guyana – (October 4, 2019): President David Granger, this afternoon, said a National Industrial Policy (NIP) will be formulated to support existing industries, modernise the industrial sector, establish low-carbon industries, provide training in industrial skills and generate employment as the Government continues to take steps to ensure that Guyana has a skilled workforce that will lead its economic transformation.
The President made these statements at the Board of Industrial Training’s (BIT) graduation ceremony, which was hosted at the National Cultural Centre. President Granger, who was accompanied by First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger said, in light of Guyana’s impending revenues from the petroleum sector, the policy will rest on four main pillars: infrastructure, investment, innovation and integration.
“Infrastructure, the first pillar, is essential to promoting industrialisation. Transport infrastructure- aerodromes, bridges and roads- are necessary to reduce investment and production costs and facilitate easy access of goods and services to markets,” he said.
The Head of State said investment, the second pillar, is essential to industrialisation, while noting that the most important investment is the investment in human capital.
“Without trained and skilled persons, the wheels of industry will remain still. Government will support programmes for the training of workers. Government, in support of skills-training, will restore free university education. Free university education is an entitlement not a gift,” President Granger said.
Further, the Head of State said, innovation, the third pillar of NIP, is aimed at being a driver of growth and information and communication technology is boosting innovation. The Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) envisages the development of a “modern knowledge economy where ICT systems are the backbone of efficient public service delivery, support a more informed and active citizenry, and drive innovations in the business and creative sectors”.
President Granger posited that the digital state, by applying ICT to add value to production and service sectors, will trigger economic transformation.
“The digital state will deliver quality public services all over the country. It will reduce the need for citizens to travel outside their regions of residence, in years to come, to access legal services, acquire passports, examine their academic and medical records, record births and deaths, and receive social security benefits,” he said.
The President said the digital state will also revolutionise the delivery of education, including distance education.
Integration, the fourth pillar, aims at integrating the various parts of the economies of the regions. “Regionalisation will allow national development to take place horizontally, across all of our regions. It will stimulate the demand for more skilled persons,” the Head of State said.
President Granger said the policy will promote industrialisation, diversify the economy, stimulate employment, harness people’s potential and promote skills-training for national development.
The Head of State commended the BIT for the work it has been doing in equipping our people, and particularly young people, with employable skills. He said the commencement of petroleum production or ‘first oil’ will result in an increase in economic growth and in public revenues.
Oil revenues, he said, are not ends in themselves but are a means to realise objectives such as better education, improved communications, decent and affordable housing, healthier population, safer communities, higher wages and increased employment.
The President said oil represents an opportunity, for the country’s 50th Republic Anniversary, to lay the foundation for a safe, secure and sustainable future for present and future generations.
“Guyana must never be poor again,” the President told the 260 graduates this afternoon.
“The oil is not a bonanza which we must waste. It is an opportunity for the nation to build a stronger, to build a resilient economy. Your Government is committed to manage oil revenues for the benefit of present and future generations prudently. The Government intends to use oil revenues to expand and to diversify the economy, strengthen the non-oil sectors, build human capacity and generate employment,” the Head of State said.
President Granger said, Guyana’s economy must walk on two legs. The first leg, he said, will see the development of the ‘extractive’ – oil and gas sector, gold, diamond and bauxite while the second leg will see environmental protection, involving the transition towards a green state.
“The Green State Development Strategy (GSDS): Vision 2040 is the nation’s road map to ‘the good life for all’. The Strategy is a forward-looking plan with a twenty-year focus, the success of which requires developing and retaining a corps of trained Guyanese to drive the development of this nation. Development won’t happen by itself. Development represents the work of people like you.”
The Head of State said the ‘green’ development agenda will require skills, particularly technical skills. In keeping with the GSDS, the Government will promulgate a national industrial policy to ensure a low-carbon industrial base and the development of the skills which will be needed for the nation’s industrial needs to man the factories and plants which will form part of a country-wide, low-carbon industrial complexes to explore and exploit more efficiently natural resources.
Trained personnel are needed to build aerodromes, bridges, roads and stellings to improve access to the hinterland where gold, diamonds and timber are located. “The infrastructure linking the coastland to the hinterland is inadequate. Our longest river, the Essequibo River, which is more than 1,000km, has to be bridged,” the President said.
Similarly, he said efforts will be made to expand the ago-processing sector as small businesses are being emphasized to generate employment and to sustain growth.
“Guyana can produce every food commodity that the Eastern Caribbean requires in the hotels, restaurants and tourist resorts. We need skilled persons to satisfy the engineering demands of renewable industry we are embarking on. This will become a huge sector. There is need for technically qualified people to expand our solar reach as the country moves forward in this green economy,” President Granger said.
The National Training Project for Youth Empowerment (NTYE) was launched in 2006 and its programmes are being delivered across Guyana. These programmes, are designed to target vulnerable groups such as the school dropouts and youths from depressed and or hinterland communities. Chairman of BIT, Mr. Clinton Williams said the programme started with 600 graduates in 2005 and has since expanded and has seen some 24,000 persons being trained in ICT, forestry, home economics, health services among other skills.
“We are expanding our relationships with both the public and private sectors with a view to optimize utilization of all training facilities in the country,” Mr. Williams said.
Further, since 2016, BIT has partnered with the Guyana Organisation for Persons with Disabilities to provide technical and vocational training to the differently abled. More than 400 persons have since graduated under the programme.