The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has called for more incentives for manufacturers to boost production which it said would reduce the cost of living.
Speaking on Friday at his first press conference since being elected President of the Chamber, Deodat Indar said that there was “little to nothing” in terms of incentives that manufacturers in the country receive, and it does not motivate them to make investments and take the next step.
“Look at the value of the GDP [Gross Domestic Product] that manufacturers carry. It’s about 5.7% or somewhere around that. Miniscule. We don’t even make a hammer in this country, neither a nail. And that’s just to tell you where we are in the country,” Indar said.
He also pointed out that if all the stakeholders are to “seriously think” about manufacturing and the problems that face the sector then “we can’t have a little seminar that lasts for half day and then you get all the top of line problems that manufacturers have.” He added that there is need for the relevant bodies to dig deep down into the issues that the manufacturing sector currently faces in order to be able to address them.
“There are legal impediments, there are incentive impediments. There are a whole host of issues that are cost impediments,” he said, while pointing out that energy is one of the most influential factors in the manufacturing industry.
“…Energy represents a high part of your cost. Let’s say it’s about 10%-17%, and it ranges for different companies. So if you reduce energy cost then your profit line goes up and everything looks sexy in terms of investment,” he observed, while stating that manufacturers need assistance, but it must be done in a way that does not bleed the government.
“…But it is that money that translates into cheaper goods to the consumers so it carries down the cost of living. We make a lot of food and drinks but we don’t make nails, give us incentives,” the GCCI president stated.
With the possibility of Guyana being able to benefit from natural gas from the oil find, Vice President of the Chamber Timothy Tucker said that they are encouraging the government to ensure that there is a duty-free zone and an industrial park if they decide to bring the natural gas onshore and use it to power a proposed 200-megawatt power plant.
He said the advent of an industrial park and a duty-free zone would boost the manufacturing sector which would in turn lower the cost of living, boost employment and also boost the economy.
“You lower your imports, so there will not be a high demand for imports. You will have raw materials coming in. Cheaper cost for electricity, so production is there and by the time that item reaches the Guyanese market, it is just a minimal amount of duties that will be paid or taxes to be paid for that product, so the all-around cost of living goes down,” Tucker said.