Strong private sector role in ‘Decade of Development’ blueprint

President David Granger
President David Granger

The APNU+AFC coalition administration’s strategy for the rolling out of a Decade of Development, beginning this year, envisages significant inputs from the private sector, not least the manufacturing, ICT and telecommunications sectors, President David Granger says.

In his 2020 New Year’s address, President Granger, who is seeking a second term in office at the March 2 General Elections, articulated the four pillars of his administration’s Decade of Development strategy, the elements of which envisage a collaborative approach to the realisation of specific goals working in tandem with the private sector.

With the country’s economic fortunes seemingly likely to improve significantly in the light of the discovery and subsequent exploitation of the country’s oil resources, the President, on New Year’s Day, outlined what he said was a ten-year plan “to accelerate Guyana’s transformation into a ‘green state’, a ‘digital state’, a ‘petroleum state’, and an ‘education nation’”.

The Plan, the President said, will embrace as its “first transformative process” the pursuit of the goal of Guyana becoming a ‘green state” with official energies focussed in “the preservation and protection of the environment and the graduation towards greater value-added production.”

Interestingly, each of the tenets of the ‘strategy’ not only envisages opportunities for private sector investment but also for the expansion of a private sector that has long been hobbled by a lack of investment in infrastructure. The creation of a “digital state,” envisaged as the ‘second plank’ of the Decade of Development strategy, seeks to technologically ‘connect’ “every region, neighbourhood, village, community and government agency, generate ICT services and make public services more accessible.” Here the implications for both the expansion and upgrading of the country’s ICT sector and the attendant job-creation and business growth opportunities are readily apparent while the long-awaited acceleration of an advanced science and technology curriculum in our schools system becomes positioned to become a reality.

Equally significantly, with issues of power supply and more recently, bandwidth, having been impediments to the growth of the productive sector, more particularly the manufacturing sector, it is anticipated that the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA) will be seeking to take advantage of these particular areas of the Decade of Development programme.

The third ‘plank’ in the envisaged Decade of Development edifice will be the pursuit of what has been officially described as an “education nation,” an ambitious objective which, the President says, will be characterised by “every child graduating from secondary school and the country having a more highly educated workforce.” Here again, both the rehabilitation and further build out of schools across the country as well as equipping them with furnishings and technical equipment will afford opportunities for private sector investment.

The fourth ‘pillar’, the beginning of petroleum production, is intended  to serve as the key driver behind the  Decade of Development focus, since it is this that will be central to the triggering of faster economic growth, increased employment and economic opportunities through larger fiscal revenues.