– NICIL says Guyana continues to attract investors despite political situation
EVEN as the country goes through its electoral season, investors have continued to signal their interest in the local economy, which has so far seen US$1.1B in investments for this year.
This was according to Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Industrial & Commercial Investments Ltd (NICIL), Colvin Heath-London, in a press statement, on Saturday.
Interest in the local economy has grown significantly and continues to grow, said Heath-London, noting that a number of investors are turning their attention to Guyana as confidence in the business climate is at an “all-time high.”
He said that his team at NICIL intends to continue where they left off before the elections. He said that even though the results of the elections have not been announced, several investors, both locally and foreign, are seeking to push ahead with their investment plans.
Several foreign investors have been seeking to have their investment plans reviewed and accepted by NICIL as they remain confident that Guyana is inclined to business.
“There are continued interest being shown as more and more persons are seeking to do business in Guyana and we at NICIL are prepared to continue the work that we were doing prior to elections, as its evident that the interest continues to grow,” Heath-London said.
The NICIL head promised that government is keen on ensuring that economic growth continues, noting that the fear of locals not benefitting in a significant way should be dismissed.
He said that all the investments earmarked for Guyana will have 100 per cent local content in the pre-construction stage, and after completion of the projects a significant percentage of locals will be employed.
“This is not a case where an investment is coming but the construction stage will see foreign workers as the fear among some are. We have ensured that the investors recognise that part of their responsibility is to ensure that locals are fully employed in the construction stage, while upon completion, a significant percentage of Guyanese must be given permanent employment as we seek to aid in reducing unemployment. The objective is to create significant opportunities that locals can access,” said Heath-London.
He also noted that each project being executed will see the investors contributing in a meaningful way to a number of social programmes and projects in Guyana. This, he stressed will aid in assisting the government in its attempt to reduce social ills.
“Each investment will see the investor contributing in some way or the other to several social projects and programmes and this has been done so as to ensure that we can assist in addressing the social ills plaguing our country,” he said.
Heath-London said that with the investment portfolio in Guyana increasing, Guyana will benefit in a significant way.
“The contribution of investors to a number of social programmes will complement the government’s vision in helping to reduce some of the social ills currently experienced by Guyanese. This important note is certainly a testimony that we at NICIL are not only seeking investments but also ensuring that the investors give back significantly to assisting with social programmes in further advancing Guyana,” Heath-London explained.
He cautioned those who fear that investors are securing most of the land, dismissing this as myth. He said some persons feel that NICIL should not be selling land for major investments, but believe that those lands could have been distributed as house lots for Guyanese desperate to own their own homes.
“It is important to understand that under the law, NICIL cannot sell house lots to Guyanese. The government’s holding company owned lands are exclusively for major investment purposes,” he said.
He continued: “I have heard the grumblings of those who gripe about investors gaining lands. We review each application for land from investors and based on their generational vision is what determines the number of acres that they receive. NICIL will pursue investments aggressively, but only in the country’s interest”.
Heath-London stressed that his team ensures that all legal requirements are followed, noting that no investor will be allowed to come in and roam without being cognisant of their responsibility to the government and people of Guyana.
“Our legal standards will not be compromised, or our regulations sidestepped in the effort. The covenant we have brokered to guarantee that Guyanese are majority employees in the construction and other phases of these projects must be honoured,” he said.’
Source: The Guyana Chronicle.