Manufacturers group urges businesses to diversify

The Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) says it is “extremely concerned” about the effects of the global financial crisis on its member companies and urged them to diversify into new markets.

In a press release on Thursday, it said the drying up of export orders from Europe and North America and its consequent effects on its businesses “may require some tolerance” from financiers and force them to remember that “money is virtually useless, if not put to work.”

It added “We implore the local banking system to be more appreciative of the plight of these companies and to demonstrate greater tolerance and understanding in their credit facilitation provided. It is very possible that many companies would have to seek better refinancing arrangements in the interest of corporate survival”.

GMSA said unless strong government guarantees are forthcoming, and notwithstanding the overall strength of its financial sector there are some companies among its membership that have been seriously affected by the crisis. These would experience considerable difficulty in areas such as medical coverage for its employees and workers’ pension rights, the release said.

As regard the loss of traditional markets GMSA urged its exporters to seek market diversification. It said opportunities have popped up during this crisis that could allow innovative business persons with available liquidity to diversify.

It could also allow businesses to consolidate common services; take advantage of the drop in prices for special items, facilitate repatriating  overseas capital for investment in key priority sectors such as aquaculture and mining; minimise systemic constraints to business investments where those exist; invite the Diaspora to participate in local investment opportunities; the sourcing of capital from non-traditional places such as the Middle East, Latin America and North Africa and industrial partnerships with companies in the emerging industrial countries.

GMSA said too contemporary history has shown that corporate investments made during an economic downturn could yield as much as a 30% greater return in the long term when compared with investments made during “normal” conditions.

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