Ali banking on gas-to-shore project to entice foreign investors

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For several years, Guyana has remained low on the charts on the Ease of Doing Business, according to the World Bank annual ratings, but President Dr. Irfaan Ali is hopeful that with the increased power generation, slated to come on stream soon with the Gas to Shore Project, more businesses will invest into the country.

During the feature address delivered by Ali, at the Harvard Business School’s virtual faculty workshop on the Microeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC), the President said that he is aware of the fact that the cost and reliability of electricity in the country has been deterring investors, but this is likely to change in the next three years’ time.

According to the Head of State, “We are aiming to develop 500 megawatts of new generating capacity over the next five years and it’s a mix (of) not only natural gas but hydro electricity…this would address the issues you see in the Doing Business indictor on the cost of energy, on access to energy on the reliability of energy…in the next three years (you) would see tremendous improvement and strides by Guyana on those international indicators because every area of concern is being addressed”.

As of 2020, Guyana was ranked 134 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business according to World Bank’s annual rating. Not only that, but Guyana’s ranking remained unchanged since 2018.

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The World Bank said that the ease of doing business index ranks countries against each other based on how the regulatory environment is conducive to business operation, stronger protections of property rights. Economies with a high rank (1 to 20) have simpler and friendlier regulations for businesses.

The President in his remarks during the workshop said that the country’s natural gas production is expected to exceed the country’s current demand.

“As a result of this, we are in the process of building an industrial development authority, in an area of Guyana called Wales that would bring in new industry; fertilizer to support our local agriculture production and the aim there is to become the major supplier of all of Caricom’s food requirement,” the President explained.

He added, “We are looking at for example, new innovations in the sector; protein plants using natural gas to create protein pellets that is used in feed production for livestock so it is using the natural resource to enhance our competitive advantage in different sectors”.

Given that additional power generation is expected, Ali reminded that these will be sourced from hydo, wind power and even Photovoltaic systems, among others. In this regard, the President said that due to the geographic location of our population in the Hinterland, where Indigenous communities are, sustainable options are being pursued to supply electricity.



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