Private Sector Leaders in high anticipation of Govt’s gas to shore project
─ say cheap energy key to unlocking Guyana’s development potential
Current and former presidents of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Timothy Tucker and Nicholas Deygoo-Boyer, have weighed in on the government’s gas to shore project, noting that the benefits will be outstanding.
They believe that cheap energy will lower the cost of living, and unlock Guyana’s vast development potential.
The gas-to-energy project will be the first of the large scale projects the government is working on to reduce the cost of power by half.
“The chamber’s position is, and I would say not just the chamber but the private sector in the whole, the position is for years now, the private sector has always been a lobbying body for lower electricity costs,” Tucker told DPI.
He said it is the general consensus in the private sector that Guyana has been stymied in its development because of high electricity costs.
“Our manufacturers can’t be competitive because the cost of production, the cost of electricity is so high. We welcome any possibility of lowering electricity.”
Boyer said, “When I was the President of the Georgetown Chamber and the Private Sector Commission, I had answered a number of questions around the project, this way.”
He said any project that reduces energy costs will be supported by the private sector on the grounds that it has long identified high energy costs as a barrier to competitiveness.
“We need cheaper energy in order to really take off, you can look at our neighbours like Trinidad and Tobago, who’ve been subsidising their energy costs for decades, and you can see what it has done for development in Trinidad and Tobago. So clearly, cheaper energy costs are the key to unlocking our development potential.”
For Tucker, an improvement in the cost of power would result in many tangible changes, such as more air conditioning in homes across the country, electric vehicles, and more ease of doing business, especially for manufacturers.
In addition to creating better conditions for local manufacturers, Tucker said it would also influence more foreign direct investment.
“The big concern about any local businessman, any foreign investor coming to Guyana… people say ‘we would love to invest but our cost of power is prohibitive, it wouldn’t make us feasible’.”
Guyana Oil & Gas Support Services, a local company involved in oil and gas work, is among the many companies hoping to benefit from lower energy costs. Boyer, one of its principals, said “It’s an incredible barrier to us developing a manufacturing base in our economy, and it’s an incredible barrier to our development in general.
When you think about what it does to households’ disposable income, what we pay in electricity really takes a lot of consumers’ disposable income out of their pockets, and moves it to just paying for energy for their homes.”
For these businessmen, the gas-to-energy project cannot come soon enough.
“Do we prefer to flare our natural gas into the air, into the atmosphere? Or do we prefer to pipe it onshore and utilise it for the benefit of Guyanese?” Tucker asked.
He said Guyana has been a third world, low-income country for too long, and that if there is any way that the business community can have the opportunity to make the country the breadbasket of the Caribbean, it should do it.