New investments must conform to international standards – President Ali

Says addition to GAICO’s Dredge fleet adding capacity to country

His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali said that it is imperative that new investments in the country conform to international standards.

“Whatever we build now must be to international standard because our ultimate goal must be to play on the international stage and an international market.”

His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali.

The Head of State made this assertion during his feature address at the commissioning of the ‘Malavi’, GAICO’s new addition to their dredge fleet at Nismes, on the West Bank Demerara.

He emphasised that focus should be placed on not only building international capacity but also satisfying local demand. This, he said, requires certification, standards, an understanding of the rules, and “doing things within a framework for international convention and international laws”. These core principles, the President added, should guide those looking to build international companies.

“The days of doing an operation and trying to avoid taxes and avoid declarations are far, far, far over. If you really want to build an international company, these are not things that you should shy away from. These are not conversations we have to shy away from.”

The “new world”, he said, requires every company as well as every government agency to understand and operate within that framework, which is also a fundamental imperative for a company’s own growth and capacity building.

RAPID REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

In addition to this massive investment, President Ali said that Region Three is undergoing rapid development; this includes the construction of a new four-lane highway from Schoonard to Crane on the West Coast of Demerara and the gas to shore pipeline, which will create hundreds of jobs and catalyse development.

“These are the types of development that will support what we want to do. And all of that will come under the Wales Development Authority.”

The President announced the addition of a second docking facility in the Region by the end of the year. This facility, he said, will add capacity and address the existing challenges faced by the increase in supply boats and vessels which require such services.

SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT

On this note, President Ali pointed to the significance of the investment by GAICO.

“So, I want to say that we don’t only look at this as a singular piece of investment. From the perspective of the government, we understand the nature of the investment, the importance of the investment to the other sectors and to the realisation of the different goals and targets that we want to achieve as a country.”

The Head of State also noted the integral linkages that will be made and the benefits to transport and logistics, given that the river has a one-way channel.  He emphasised that the Demerara River’s current draught “limits the country’s competitiveness.”

President Ali also acknowledged the benefits which will resound to local companies due to the maintenance cost of the vessel.

“It is adding new capacity to our economy, adding new capacity to our country, diversifying the breadth of service that we can provide right here in Guyana, and one may say, how is it linked to other opportunities? Based on what I’m told, the annual maintenance costs for this vessel, this singular vessel, will be around G$40 million dollars. More than 70% of that G$40 million dollars will go to ordinary Guyanese in a machining shop, in a welding shop, in a fabrication shop. That is an added value that is one piece of asset brings.”

GREATER INTERNATIONAL ROLE

The Head of State reminded that Guyana is embarking on an impressive development agenda that will lead to the prosperity of all of its citizens.

“We understand to achieve that end product there must be changes in the way we operate, there must be changes in the way we deploy our human resources.”

The President said that the country must play a greater role internationally and must reposition itself regionally.

“We must be able to demonstrate leadership in the new areas that we want to reposition ourselves in, and this leads to the diversification of the economy and the building of new capacity. And that is what this investment is—adding new capacity to our economy, adding new capacity to our country, diversifying the breadth of service that we can provide right here in Guyana.”

President Ali was joined by the Minister of Labour, the Honourable Joseph Hamilton; the Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, the Honourable Deodat Indar; Head of the Private Sector Commission, Paul Cheong and members of the diplomatic community and other government officials.

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