Clinton Williams, Chief Executive Officer of Guyana National Industrial Company, was re-elected to serve a second term at the helm of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) last month.
Williams has since named Linden Harlequin of DLFSA Inc. to function in the capacity of First Vice-President on the GMSA Executive Council; Gopienauth Sowdagar of DOCOL as the Second Vice-President; and Autaram Lakeram of NAMILCO as the Third Vice-President.
Williams, after serving a year as President, recently pointed to the need for continuously advocating for pertinent investment policies in the country.
In his 2010 report, he spoke of re-focusing on the services sector to accelerate development and expansion via a national coalition of services industries, particularly in response to International Trade Agreements which give the sector greater prominence and focus.
The GSMA’s list of issues requiring intervention at the governmental level is extensive, according to Williams. He cited relatively high costs and frequent unavailability of electricity from the national grid, inadequate access to and high costs for investment funding and trade financing, and the bureaucratic legal requirements for the establishment of new businesses.
Williams also mentioned inefficiency and significant costs associated with the delivery of vital services by the Revenue Authority and other regulatory agencies.
In recommending possible strategies for resolving some of the issues affecting the sector, Williams suggested a “value chain” approach to product development, and the creation and/or empowerment of para-statal agencies, such as Go-Invest, to act as a one-stop shop/clearing house for services needed to establish new businesses.
He also urged investment in remote-operated sensing technology to better monitor national borders and smuggling routes in order to reduce the hemorrhaging of profits that local manufacturers experience through unfair competition.
Williams suggested too the establishment of inward and outward investment/export promotion missions as mechanisms for securing joint venture partners and trade expansion, as well as the creation of export promotion zones as a catalyst to accelerate the export of local products.
Representatives of 13 companies affiliated to GMSA were appointed to the new Board of Directors following the association’s annual general meeting late last month. Several members of the board have already been selected via a round robin process to head the Services, Construction and Engineering, Forestry and Wood Products and Agriculture and Agro-Processing sub-sectors.
The GMSA will shortly name the heads of the Textiles and Sewn Goods, Printing and Packaging, Minerals, Trade and Investment and Fast Food sub-sectors, according to a press release from the association.
Williams, in his acceptance speech, said he was heartened by the confidence placed in him by the board and he vowed to press on to substantially increase the manufacturing/services sectors’ relevance and contributions to the national economy. He chose as his theme for the ensuing year, “Re-invigorating the Manufacturing and Services Sectors,” and threw out a challenge to the board for greater commitment to the association’s main thrust towards bringing Guyana’s small, medium-sized and micro industries out of relative obscurity into the national and international market place.
The GMSA’s Board of Directors for financial year 2011/2012 comprises: Ramesh Dookhoo – Banks D.I.H. Ltd; Peter Pompey – Brass Aluminum Cast Iron Foundry; Mark Bender – TCL Guyana Ltd; Gopienauth Sowdagar – Demerara Oxygen Company Ltd; Raymond Ramsaroop – Edward B. Beharry Group; Briony Tiwarie – B.K. International; Lindel Harlequin – Development Finance Ltd. S.A.
Also sitting on the board are Lloyd Singh, International Pharmaceutical Agency; Autaram Lakeram, National Milling Company of Guyana; Clement Duncan, Swansea Industrial Associates; Yonette Jeffers, LAPARKAN Trading; Anthony Ross, Sterling Products Ltd; and Gary Thompson, Corporate Advocates.