With public expectations now firmly fixed on oil and gas to rescue the Guyana economy from its protracted condition of poverty and underdevelopment, President David Granger cautioned attendees at the country’s First Youth Empowerment Summit recently to equip themselves with the skills and knowledge to help advance Guyana’s development beyond the lifespan of the country’s petroleum sector.
“All around the world people are moving away from petroleum and you had better learn that lesson, that petroleum, whatever bonanza, whatever profits, whatever revenues we get, will not last forever. So, we have to put in place the type of development that would take us beyond petroleum. That is why I deliberately chose a ‘Decade of Development’, not a year of development [but] a decade because by 2030 this country must be must more developed than it is at present,” the President said.
The recently announced Decade of Development is envisioned to coincide with a period during which significantly increased oil and gas revenues will accrue to Guyana and the President disclosed that the country can anticipate significant investments in education, including university education which will become available free of cost across the country to all eligible students. Government, he said, will be moving to commit resources to the expansion of technical education in rural and hinterland communities. Education, the President added, will be geared to equip young people with the tools that will reduce dependency on the petroleum sector.
And as the level of public expectancy focuses increasingly on the anticipated returns from oil and gas, President Granger drew attention to the fact that “all around the world people are moving away from petroleum.” Contextually, he warned “that petroleum, whatever bonanza, whatever profits, whatever revenues we get, will not last forever.” Guyana, he said, therefore had the responsibility to put in place the type of development that would take us beyond petroleum.
“It [oil] wouldn’t last forever. Even some of the most productive petroleum countries now have the most successful solar energy generation plants. Some of the countries producing the most petroleum are also producing the most electricity from solar energy,” the President said.
President Granger’s address was delivered before a crowd of youths from Linden where state-allocated resources have accounted for much of the job creation and business opportunities. The Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepre-neurial Development (SLED) programme, launched in 2016 has provided financing and technical support for more than 400 community projects which support income-generation. Another project, the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS), launched in 2015 helped to create more than 1,200 jobs and train some 3,728 hinterland youths while the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN), re-launched in December 2015 with an injection of $155 million in state funding from the Government, disbursed 570 loans totalling $326.2 million over the past four years.