The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry election of members of the council for 2014 and 2015 was held yesterday.
From the 21 members of the council a new President will be elected on Tuesday.
Outgoing President Clinton Urling, at the GCCI annual general meeting at Duke Lodge, Kingston reiterated that political compromise was essential to Guyana’s growth and development. He stated that over the year he has particularly lobbied for local government elections and the passage of the anti-laundering legislation.
Urling highlighted that the GCCI wants “a clear and concrete diversification and manufacturing strategy that removes our dependence on international commodity prices”. He also called on the Guyana Revenue Authority to do more to hasten its processing of imports and exports.
He said that the GCCI had to focus on the small to medium scale businesses and that he hoped the next president would work to be as inclusive as possible. Urling stated that small businesses contribute and were a critical part of the GCCI’s $43.3 million revenue in 2013, which he noted was $18.6 million more than 2012.
He stated that most of the money was not from donors or through government assistance but from the GCCI’s various projects and programmes. He stated that going forward small business ventures need to be helped and that he will continue to call upon various agencies including the foreign missions to match donations or provide accessible loans.
Canadian High Commissioner Dr Nicole Giles stated that “small and medium enterprises are playing a foundational role in transforming economies all across the globe.”
She continued “small and medium enterprises are key drivers for sustainable economic growth and underpin any country’s economic success”. Giles stated that small and medium enterprises were the “unsung heroes of economic development” and pledged Canada’s continued support to grow small business across Guyana.
Urling had earlier said that a stronger Foreign Ministry was also desirable in Guyana because it could better act as a link between the global community and Guyana’s private sector. Urling stated that the relevant authorities needed to create and implement a National Competitiveness Council that would implement policies on a larger scale. He said that the Public Procurement Commission needed to be up and running to ensure that the contracts were awarded to those that could do the work.
He stated that the GCCI will continue to fight for a strong intellectual property law and that this would assist in the prevention of the brain drain. He stated that all of this was possible with continued policy cooperation and if policy makers would put aside their narrow thinking.