GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali made a comprehensive presentation on Guyana’s development agenda and pointed to key strategies to diminish disparity among its people, delivering the keynote address to the Harvard Business School at a virtual faculty workshop on the microeconomics of competitiveness, was adamant that all Guyanese would benefit from the country’s impending prosperity.
His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali, said:
“An essential and indispensable element of my government’s agenda for transforming Guyana is the building of a more equitable society. One in which every Guyanese person irrespective of the region in which they live, irrespective of their ethnic or religious background would have an equal opportunity and stake in the development of our country.”
The head of state said that in order to achieve this plan, which will see prosperity for all, it is absolutely necessary to have the correct framework for development. The need to build Guyana’s human capacity through universal education was listed by the president as a centrepiece of personal empowerment.
He said that his government would ensure that the population benefits from primary and secondary education by supporting attendance at school through a free uniform programme, a free feeding programme for at-risk students and transportation allowance.
Efforts are also in place to remove the gap in the quality of education between urban and rural areas and to improve access to tertiary level education.
“We are hoping before the next three years to have free university education for Guyanese. We have already launched our 20,000 scholarship programme with more than 6000 students studying at various universities around the world through distance and online education.”
The president said that his government is also looking to build an oil and gas institute. Outside of education, emphasis will be placed on delivering world-class health care to all Guyanese through a modern public healthcare system. “Our people must be able to enjoy world-class, primary health care,” he said.
Housing was also listed as key to overall development. The president described the housing initiative, which has been prolific, as an “aggressive programme” that gives direct benefit to homeownership.
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Additionally, the president noted that it is imperative to put measures in place to protect the vulnerable by strengthening the country’s social safety nets.
“Only recently we were recognised by the World Bank as having one of the broadest cash support systems for vulnerable and at-risk people during the Covid-19 pandemic. So we’re protecting the most vulnerable by strengthening our social safety nets.”
An example of this is the progressive increase in old-age pension, the development of specialised programmes for persons living with disabilities, including specialised training with a view of them engaging in meaningful economic activities.
“These initiatives represent just a sample of the kind of policies and programmes my government is aggressively pursuing in order to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society have an opportunity to lift themselves out of unfortunate circumstances.”