Promising incentives for businesses that invest in his government’s plan for a green and sustainable economy, President David Granger last evening restated that the country needs to wean off of its dependence on fossil fuel.
“Guyana needs a green development strategy and this is my task… my mission is to build a green economy. We are going to transition our economy towards a renewable clean and cheaper source of energy,” the president promised, as he delivered his inaugural GuyExpo address, when the trade fair opened at the Sophia Exhibition Complex.
He pointed to the fact that in 2012 nearly a quarter of the country’s Gross Domestic Product went to pay for the purchasing of petroleum products for the country, stressing that once there are alternative sources of energy, those monies can be channeled to development projects.
“Guyana therefore needs a sustainable model for its economy. A model of resource exploitation and extraction, in order to check the depletion of its natural assets, so that these assets will also be available to future generations,” the President asserted.
He added “I therefore see Guyana’s economy becoming a green economy… necessary to ensure the sustainable management of our natural resources and our assets. A green economy is also needed to wean this country off of its addiction to fossil fuels… So when you come next year the minister of business would not have a generator going in the background.”
Granger said that as part of this country’s Green development thrust, his government will ensure that the country will rapidly accelerate the transition towards renewable sources of energy. To achieve its objectives the government plans to invest in wind, solar, hydro and biomass sources of energy over the next five years.
“Our economy in days and weeks to come will represent an investment opportunity for our business community. It will represent an emerging target market for our financial sector that will spur entrepreneurial activity. It will create knowledge based jobs, a clean and healthy environment for households and families not least of all vendors. It will reduce your fuel export bill and allow our economy to harness its natural resources, water, wind and biomass,” he stressed.
The byproducts of Guyana’s top agricultural producers, sugar and rice, were also mentioned as having potential for bio fuel.
“The Government of Guyana must lead the way in transitioning towards greater renewable energy use. Every government building …every hospital school must over the next five years convert to using alternative sources of energy,” he asserted.
The President laid out his ‘Green Blueprint’ for the country informing that it was built on four pillars: renewable energy, environmental security, enterprise and employment.
As it pertains to environmental security, Granger posited that while more than 80 percent of the country’s population resides on the coastland and most of its agriculture also comes from the same geographical location, that area is low, flat and prone to breaches in the country’s sea defence, flooding and the intrusion of salt water into agriculture communities .
“Our sea defence system is fragile and it requires repair …coastal zone management then is essential to economic survival,” he said. “We are going to craft a comprehensive coastal zone management plan to protect human habitation.
“We are going to craft coastal economy systems and ecosystems. We are going to create green enterprises and jobs. We will inculcate green education in our schools. We are going to develop a green development strategy and that strategy will rest first of all on renewable energy.”
He said that he has also asked that protected areas be established in every region and government has also committed a vast amount of land for conservation.
“Each region must have an area that is protected, whether it is wet lands or savannahs every region must have a protected area. We have committed to 2m hectares of land and waterways under conservation. Ecological parks and natural reserves will also be established to protect our natural habitats. We want to see sanctuaries for our arapaima and our giant river otters. We want to protect our flora and fauna so that our grandchildren can see the good things our grandparents left for us.”
He said that a green revolution “will produce and generate employment opportunities…electric cars, hybrid vehicles energy saving devices, solar home systems, organic foods, recycling plants, environment-friendly buildings, green construction materials, biodegradable packaging materials, sustainable agricultural and green financing options are just some of the areas around new enterprises and jobs will be created,” he stated.
“Guyana must move onto a green wave, green jobs are the next wave of job creation .a green economy, of the necessity, will demand a high level of skilled personnel so the education system must be there in position to supply trained personnel needed to propel this green economy,” the President said.