With the sacking of over 7,000 Guyanese (5,000 sugar workers and nearly 2,000 Amerindian Community Support Officers) over the last two-and-a-half years it is presumed that poverty in Guyana is on the increase. These Guyanese had dependents as well so the total directly affected individuals could be in the region of 20,000 people.
Without any notable job creation in the last two-and-a-half years the government has put thousands of people on the breadline. It is clear that President David Granger has lost the plot after stipulating in Kenya that people must be put before profits, yet in Guyana he is putting profits before people.
In a country of high unemployment where are these Guyanese supposed to find work? Become entrepreneurs? They do not have the skills or the money to do so. This is why the initiative by the Private Sector Commission (PSC) in holding job fairs is commendable, as the APNU+AFC government is bereft of ideas on what to do about the unemployment issue.
It is believed that the government is awaiting the oil money to make Guyana progress. Yet, the oil money in itself will not solve the unemployment issue. What Guyana needs is a massive drive by the private sector to invest in Guyana and Guyanese.
The private sector needs to work with small to medium sized enterprises (SME) to help create jobs in Guyana. They should look closely at developing better business relationships with our neighbours, in particular Brazil, so that we can export more. In addition, the private sector should be gearing up to do infrastructural work that will come on stream when the oil money starts flowing. This mean capacity building in our construction industry. They have two years to do so, unless they want foreign companies to get the majority of the infrastructure projects.
Construction would be a growth area in two to three years’ time when the oil money starts coming in.