President Irfaan Ali has touted a new ID card system which will not only target Guyanese, but also those seeking residence here as well as those on work permits.
Speaking on the programme, “Energy Perspectives”, the President said the current development trajectory of the country has intensified the country’s shortage of capacity to match the demands needed. To this end, he said, the Government will be turning to a pool of persons in the diaspora and others to fill the gap.
“Yes, this is a challenge, we accept this is as a challenge but importantly, we are putting the mechanisms in place through which we will have a moving population of non- Guyanese coming for work through the work permit system and that is why in the ID card that we are talking about, you will have citizens, residence, and those work permits,” the President noted.
He said the reason for the new system is to ensure that those who come to Guyana to work are integrated in the society. He said the current system is dysfunctional because it does not capture all of the categories, hence the Government is looking to digitize and move away from it.
But on the question of development, the President noted that the pace of the country’s development when compared to the skill on offer here is posing some challenge.
“We can’t hide under the sand, already there is a huge human resource gap, we have shortage of labourers, semi-skilled workers and of operators and what we see is that to address this shortage we are competing against each other for the same pool. So, the prices for that labour force is going up and we can’t afford to lose our competitive advantage totally,” the President noted.
But even on the labour importation question, he said Guyanese will be given priority, and while higher wages will be on offer, he said finding the right balance to ensure investors confidence will be crucial.
“We have to confront this question because the type of development and scale of development is definitely outstripping what we can provide locally. So, we have a natural pool in the diaspora and we have to try as hard as possible to maximize how much we can get out of the diaspora,” the President said.
The President will be one of the main speakers at the upcoming Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo.