GO-Invest must evolve to suit changing local requirements – CEO Verwey
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, August 20, 2019
The future of the Guyana Office for Investment ‘GO-Invest’ lies in its ability, “to evolve into an agency that is relevant for what is needed in the market, at this point, and also begin that process of building capacity, for what is coming to us.”
Go-Invest’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Owen Verwey shared this view while he was as a guest on the National Communications Network’s (NCN) VOG ‘INSIGHT’ Radio Programme.
Verwey explained that “it was not about oil and gas, but rather where the Guyanese economy would be in five to ten years”.
He expressed optimism that Guyana will have much more financial resources, enabling it to further develop needed infrastructure, higher disposable incomes, more prosperous local businesses and a required push for more local content beyond the oil and gas sector.
“Many times, we attend events, and everything on the table is imported from somewhere else, and there are local people who are producing these things. It’s about ensuring that the agency can deal with all of that. This would entail a structural change. It requires resources, for us to get there in terms of human resources being on board, and it requires the continued leadership we have had, that ensures the agency retains its independence.”
According to Verwey, GO-Invest needs to get closer to business to foster its expansion and narrow its focus on specific sectors. He cited regional sister agencies which focus on no more than five sectors. “We have a lot of resources. It does not mean we should focus on all of them at the same time. We do need to select some primary areas and understand the value chain in there, understand where we should be working first or where we can work best.”
He cited the gold industry, which declared 716,000+ ounces as an example to explain the importance of specified data and analysis. “How much of that was exported as raw bars and how much was done as a value-added item in the local economy? How much ended up in Dubai, in retails stores at a higher value while the lower end ended up in the stores here, but we still exported probably 75% of what was produced here. That is just one example of where we need to do that level of work to get to that understanding.”
GO-Invest’s mission is to contribute to Guyana’s economic development by promoting and facilitating local and foreign private-sector investment and exports, in accordance with the country’s approved investment and export strategies.” The agency covers several sectors. These include agriculture, agro-processing, energy, forestry, ICT, manufacturing, mining, services and tourism.
Its offices are located at Lot 190 Camp & Church Streets, Georgetown.