Go-Invest enabled $12.5B in investments for first half of 2018 –CEO

Owen Verwey

The Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) facilitated $12.5 billion in investments during the first half of 2018 with that number expected to explode to over $107.5 billion by December, according to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Owen Verwey.

Verwey told media operatives that 20 investment agreements (IA) were executed from January 1 to June 30, 2018 with 434 jobs expected to be created across various sectors including services, agriculture, and energy, when the projects are fully operational. He said that the figures provided for the value of each investment result from projections by the investors.

According to the CEO, a substantial and rapid increase in executed IAs is expected in the second half of 2018, with more than $95 billion in new projects in the pipeline between January – August 2018.  “These include projects submitted but are in the due diligence phase either at Go-Invest, Guyana Revenue Authority, Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) , Central Housing and Planning Authority and Ministry of Business’ Industrial Division, and others that are still under discussion and review,” he explained.

Of the 20 projects executed, 12 were the result of local investment, five resulted from foreign investment and three are joint ventures. Verwey emphasised that the five agreements involving foreign investors totaled $5.02 billion and were predominantly within the agriculture sector though the manufacturing, services and information and communications technology sectors all recorded one foreign direct investment (FDI) project respectively.

“Notable FDI projects included the manufacturing of pre-cast concrete construction materials, coco peat from coconut shells and the cultivation of cash crops within the agriculture sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, the joint venture IAs executed proposed $560 million of investment in the local economy most of which were in the energy and agriculture sectors. Verwey said that over the last three years, Go-Invest has worked to improve its due diligence by improving its reporting process and developing a comprehensive application form for every applicant.

Verwey said interest in investing in Guyana has grown dramatically and in the first half of this year, the Agency met with hundreds of local and foreign investors seeking to explore investment opportunities in Guyana across all sectors. Many of the investors approaching Go-Invest are looking for land to operationalize various aspects of their projects, he disclosed. Most of these investors are set to develop projects in non-traditional agriculture and three large-scale investors have communicated their firm intention to move forward with investment.

“One South American company has completed a pilot study on leased lands to grow soya beans and other crops and is now seeking lands from GL&SC for their permanent operations. The other two investors were Brazilian companies which will start large-scale agricultural investment and the various agencies are still conducting due diligence,” he explained.

In the oil and gas (O&G) sector, several service providers have accessed the services of Go-Invest for advice on commencing operations and it is anticipated that multiple investments would come on-stream by the end of the year. According to Verwey, projections for 2018 anticipated more shore-based activities and local business participation in the O&G Industry but only one IA has been executed with a Guyanese-owned service provider.

“The Agency had anticipated an earlier influx of local companies partnering with international investors to service the O&G Industry, but current indicators suggest that there will be a slow build-up in momentum with significant acceleration in 2019 when we expect an uptake in local investments as businesses familiarise themselves with the requirements of the O&G Industry and move to improve financial reporting standards and capacity,” he said.

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