TAMING FOREIGN INVESTMENT INTERESTS
WHILE we often think of economic growth as good news, it can also happen too rapidly. In light of this, I refer to an article: “Gov’t working to ‘tame’ investment interests,” published in the July 4th, 2021 edition of the Guyana Chronicle, in which His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali pointed out “the importance of strategising outside investments coming to Guyana.”
He reasoned that, “…when you are managing an economy like this, you have to be mindful of the consequences of overheating; you have to be mindful of the consequences of having the investments itself creating shortages.” At this juncture, I wish to commend His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali for asserting to this reality and to highlight what is currently occurring in Guyana.
Over the last few months, we have seen raw material shortages escalate, resulting in excessive price increases for every conceivable commodity. This is especially true for construction materials, where we have seen steel prices rise, wood prices rise, nail prices rise, cement prices rise, and, most significantly, the troubling surge in food prices has also become quite worrisome. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the costs locally and exacerbated prices from foreign goods and materials, as well as shipping costs, which have quadrupled in certain cases.
Worse, we all know that if things settle down, these industrialists, businesspeople, importers, and others who were granted pricing power will be reluctant to return to normal pricing. However, I am relieved to note President Ali’s words when he ascertains that the, “investment interests are being thoroughly examined by Vice-President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo,” and that, “the Cabinet has taken a conscious decision to expend local funds to kick-start key projects that are important for Guyana’s development.”
In light of the foregoing, I, Hajji Dr. Roshan Khan, am confident that this time around, Guyanese will not get the short end of the stick. I am certain and patient that our policies pertaining to foreign investors into our country would favour the lives of the common Guyanese. In fact, I am certain that our foresighted government would not act as hastily as the previous one did when they signed away our oil resources without providing Guyana and Guyanese with the same benefits that Suriname provided to its citizens. The APNU+AFC truly sent us to hell. We presently lack adequate insurance for oil spills, such that a single spill can wipe away the little bit of money we earn for every third shipment of oil. As a result of this, I believe the government should take severe action.
I urge His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali and Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo to work steadfastly on this with Guyana first in mind! We need investors, but we need investors with a conscious where it will be a win-win situation for all of us.
Hajji Dr. Roshan Khan Snr.