Politicians must lay out plans for oil sector; preventing Dutch disease – AmCham President

first_img– as Zulficar Ally re-elected as President; new board installed– AMCHAM membership reaches 61 in first yearThe importance of the oil sector means politicians must be articulate and transparent about what they intend to do to manage the sector and its risks. This is the view of Zulficar Ally, President of the American Chamber (AmCham) of Commerce in Guyana.The AmCham head table, which featured US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah Ann Lynch (2nd, left)Ally was at the time speaking during AmCham’s inaugural Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday. The AGM was held at the Marriott Hotel, and featured members of the private sector and civil society.In his remarks, Ally noted the importance of the country — including the private sector and ordinary Guyanese — knowing where politicians stand on critical issues, like oil and gas, before they go to the polls.“AmCham has already started discussions with other partners, to play our part in the upcoming national and regional elections through the hosting of national debates with our political leaders,” Ally said.“Our aim is to ensure that politicians running for office speak clearly about their policies and programmes for the development of the private sector, the promotion of trade, and their plans and timelines for managing Guyana’s natural resources.”Ally pointed out that having this knowledge can be the difference between electing leaders who lead Guyana down the wrong path and Dutch disease, or leaders who will oversee economic prosperity.‘Dutch disease’ is an economic term used to define an imbalance in the local economy of an oil producer that can include rising currency values, non-competitive exports, and the decline of traditional sectors.Already, the traditional sectors have shown serious signs of decline, with gold, rice and sugar in trouble. Analysts have theorized that Guyana’s growth rate is being driven largely by the effects of the burgeoning oil sector, compared to these sectors.Meanwhile, Ally also revealed that approximately 61 businesses joined the chambers for the last year, while over 100 applications are pending. Ally also encouraged these businesses to be outspoken about their concerns, and to provide feedback. He noted that efforts are being made to enhance opportunities for its membership, such as hosting events to allow them to network.Ally was subsequently re-elected as President of AmCham at the AGM. Serving alongside him are Clairmont Cummings, Managing Director of Corum Group, as First Vice President; General Manager of Sol Guyana, Liz Wyatt, as Second Vice President, and Attorney-at-law Devindra Kissoon of London House Chambers as Third Vice President and Legal Counsel. Finance Controller of Namilco, Fitzroy Mcleoud, was returned as Treasurer of the Chamber.The Board of Directors also include ExxonMobil Country Manager Rod Henson; Vice President, Government and External Affairs, Hess Corporation, Alex Mistri; Fix It Hardware Chief Executive Officer Paul James, Ramps Logistics representative Marisca Jordan, Namilco Financial Controller Fitzroy Mcleoud, and Macorp Guyana General Manager Guillermo Escarraga.Also included are Republic Bank Deputy General Manager Parbatie Khan, Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company CEO Justin Nedd, Guyana Marriott Hotel General Manager Edwardo Reple, Red Entertainment CEO Saskia Wijngaarde, and Massy Group Guyana representative Navendra Thakur.AmCham Guyana was launched in August of last year with a stated objective of promoting trade and business between the United States and Guyana. This came after ExxonMobil’s oil finds put Guyana on the global map, leading to increased interest from foreign investors.Many AmCham branches exist in countries all around the world, including in nearby Trinidad. It was only this year that AmCham Guyana collaborated with its Trinidad counterparts to host a Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) Conference.The one-day event, held on July 17 under the theme “Preparing for sustainable development”, featured an appearance from Exxon Guyana’s Production Manager Mike Ryan, who endeavoured to give an account of his company’s health and safety policies, stressing that ExxonMobil puts the safety of its workers above business and profits.last_img read more