As the analysis of Budget 2023 continues, Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat on Sunday examined the positive effect of the forestry sector and its impact on the local economy.
“An 11.7 per cent growth rate in the non-oil sector is quite commendable…particularly in the natural resources sector, [we have seen] tremendous growth in almost every single commodity – we had an increase,” the minister said during an interview at the weekend.
He explained that the forestry sector alone grew at a rate of 13.4 per cent in 2022; when juxtaposed against the negligent situation that the government inherited when it took office in 2020.
“Forestry was bankrupt… they weren’t able to pay staff, NIS was owed utility bills, union dues, insurance was owed – it was a nightmare,” the minister related.
The growth of the non-oil sector Minister Bharrat underscored, is the PPP/C Government’s commitment to expanding traditional sectors such as forestry, mining, and agriculture.
The minister said the demand in the construction industry has resulted in an increase in production of approximately 441,000 cubic metres of timber in the forestry sector.
Increases in production, export, and resource personnel returning to the sector have also contributed to the sector’s success.
Meanwhile, recent contractual agreements between Guyana and Barbados and Guyana and St Vincent are also a big boost for the forestry sector. The agreements will see pre-fabricated homes being exported to those countries.
Minister Bharrat said with a $2.2 billion allocation in the 2023 budget, the natural resources ministry will continue to set the policy framework to prepare forestry stakeholders to move towards value-added products.
“It is where the real opportunities are [and] this will increase earnings and in the context of keeping our deforestation low to meet our low carbon development commitment to mitigate climate change,” the minister added.