GCCI manifesto admits economic progress tied to political accommodation

No significant economic accomplishment can be realised in Guyana in the absence of “a healthy dose of political accommodation”, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Clinton Urling has said.

In an interview on Tuesday shortly after the chamber had launched its new Competitiveness Manifesto, Urling said it was impossible to separate economic prosperity from political stability. “It would be delusional to think to the contrary,” he said.

“The record of Guyana’s history has shown that political stability is a fundamental prerequisite for growth and prosperity. This makes it imperative that we all strive for building and maintaining stable political relations to the benefit of all of the country’s citizens and stakeholders,” the manifesto says.

Sections of the media attending Tuesday’s event, posed searching questions about the relationship between the private sector and the political administration with some media operatives asserting that the private sector, as a whole, continued to adopt a generally defensive posture in its engagements with government.

Urling declined to comment on the view that the private sector was being held in check by the likelihood of reprisals or of being cut off from official favours. However, he conceded that the private sector was advocating that any concessions as might be forthcoming from government be dispensed with by the Procurement Commission when it is established rather than be left to the discretion of government.

Urging more transparency and accountability in the management of the public and private sectors, the manifesto called on private sector entities “to ensure that their internal systems can withstand strong and strict scrutiny.” At the same time the chamber wants “accurate taxes to be remitted, an end to “bribing or corrupting of public officials” and the ushering in of a regime that allows all activities and business practices to be conducted  within a well-articulated official framework. “Without such systems the country loses out among other things, on tax revenues,” the manifesto said

Meanwhile Urling conceded that the implementation of the measures outlined in the Competitiveness Manifesto depends heavily on the ability of government and the private sector to arrive at a modus vivendi in effectively addressing them. ‘”The assurance that I can give you is that we in the private sector cannot ever afford to give up in our advocacy and in our pursuit of change,” Urling said.

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