Urling calls for transparent, accountable national leadership

Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) President Clinton Urling wants the country’s “national leaders and public officials” to be more transparent and accountable in the management of public and private sector organisations.

Addressing the Chamber’s Annual Awards Ceremony at the Pegasus Hotel on December 6, Urling declared that these virtues should be among “the highest priorities for our national leaders and public officials.” Transparency and accountability, Urling said, build trust with the public. “That trust is achieved by providing accurate and complete information on expenditure, projects and other transactions.”

Urling used his address to the Chamber forum to issue another call to government to take the initiative on the creation of a development bank to meet the needs of the country’s growing small business community. He told the gathering of business leaders, politicians and diplomats that a point had been reached where the need for a development bank “that speaks to the needs of micro and small businesses” had become important.

GCCI President
Clinton Urling

Noting that some “new and innovative economic ventures were “considered risky by the traditional commercial banks,” Urling said that what was needed was “a development bank preferably structured in the public/private partnership model.” He envisages that such a bank would “offer longer-term lending, lower interest rates and less onerous collateral requirements.”

Several weeks ago Stabroek Business learnt from Presidential Advisor Keith Burrowes that government was in the process of preparing a White Paper that would address the creation of a development bank.

Urling also told the gathering that the private sector was seeking “accelerated and holistic tax reform” that placed emphasis on comprehensive change rather than on a “disjointed and fractional” approach.

And not for the first time since being elected President of the GCCI Urling called for changes at the University of Guyana that would allow the institution to contribute more meaningfully to the creation of an adequate corps of skilled workers to cater to the human resource deficiencies of the private sector. What was needed, he said, was a “… transformation of the University of Guyana” in order to change the institution into “a hub for national research and development” and enable it “to produce a competent and qualified labour force to meet the needs of the public and private sectors.

Urling’s call for an improved learning environment at the country’s only university comes against the backdrop of several earlier attempts to establish lasting relationships between UG and more private sector organisations. At the moment, there are just a few that are lasting and successful.

Guests at the GCCI Awards Ceremony

More than two years ago, in the wake of sustained complaints by leading private sector officials about the failure of UG to bridge the human resource gap created by the flight of skills, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) entered into an agreement with the university, which included, among other things, the planned creation of specialised courses tailored to meet the needs of private sector entities and the use of experienced private sector functionaries as guest lecturers at UG. At the same time it was agreed that the private sector would provide financing and equipment for selected projects at UG. The UG/PSC initiative which had envisaged the creation of academic programmes designed to focus greater attention on agriculture and business appeared to flourish at the start of the tenure of Professor Lawrence Carrington as Vice Chancellor of UG in 2009.

A UG spokesperson told Stabroek Business earlier this week that while the plan to create stronger linkages between the private sector and UG may have been well-intentioned, it was almost certainly derailed by the fact that the then Vice Chancellor (Professor Carrington) became preoccupied with “the wider crisis” confronting the university.

Urling’s call for the university to become “a hub for national research and development” coincides with calls from other private sector leaders for UG to focus more attention on research in the fields of agriculture and education.

More in Business

GO-Invest Headquarters

GO-Invest not equipped to fulfil its mandate, PSC says

Private Sector Commission (PSC) believes that the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) is ill-equipped to effectively execute its mandate at this time and is unlikely to be able to do so unless it becomes free to attract its own international funding.

Central bank rules limit commercial bank lending

Development Bank still relevant – PSC

While the risk-averse nature of commercial banks’ lending policies have helped to keep the country’s financial system viable and sound in the face of banking crises in other countries, “rigid central bank restrictions” on commercial bank lending have limited expansion, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) says.

David Falconer

Reflecting on three years of the Credit Bureau

By David Falconer Three years into its introduction the local Credit Bureau seems set to reshape the country’s financial landscape, more particularly, to forever alter the procedures associated with lending.

Parliament View Vendor Oneika Douglas

Parliament View vendors see the over reduced conditions

What has come to be known as Parliament View Mall—the description could hardly be more inappropriate—is a hotbed of muted but ill-concealed resentment amongst the more than 100 vendors evicted from the Stabroek Market Square three months ago to their new, decidedly unappealing location.

Raymond Trotz

October festival poised to raise profile of local coconut industry

Guyana’s first ever coconut festival, billed for October, is poised to do more than any previous initiative to raise awareness of the importance of the product, Chairman of the National Stakeholders Forum for Coconut Development Raymond Trotz has said.

default placeholder

Corruption present in counterfeit, expired goods import – Public Health Ministry source

As increasing numbers of cases of importation of counterfeit and/or expired goods, particularly milk, drugs, items of food and medical devices continue to show up on the local radar, a reliable Public Health Ministry source has told Stabroek Business that it is rife with corruption, adding that the authorities no longer appear to have “reliable control” over the integrity of several consignments of consumer goods imported into the country.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: