The Private Sector Commission (PSC) says while it agrees that measures published in Budget 2018 will certainly have a positive impact on local businesses, it believes that more could have been done to reverse the negative impact of the 2017 Budget.
In an end of year statement yesterday, the PSC said: “There is need to reexamine the tax policy on goods from zero rating to exempt and standard rated goods and services, the VAT on electricity, the VAT on agricultural and mining machinery and inputs. Withholding disposable income from the economy does not bode well for growth. We look forward to discussions with our Minister of Finance, Hon. Winston Jordan, at our quarterly meetings in 2018 where we hope to find mutually beneficial solutions to our issues”.
Its statement addressed a range of issues.
It said that among the achievements for the year was the Guyana Business Summit 2017, which was held in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank in October. It homed in on the ‘Challenges and Opportunities for Business Growth and Expansion’. The summit saw the PSC bringing together key stakeholders, including the Government and Parliamentary Opposition, in discussions on opportunities and critical areas as Energy, Human Capital Development, Markets, Economic Development & Capacity, Taxation, Sourcing Capital and Governance.
“It is hoped that from the findings and presentations of this Summit, the PSC would engage the Minister of Business and the Minister of Finance in 2018 in moving forward with our recommendations. Our continuous discussions with governmental agencies are the key to success”, the PSC said.
The PSC said while it is comprised of members of the private sector business community across Guyana, its role is not limited to business.
“We have worked assiduously throughout the year to provide help and assistance to members of the larger Guyanese community through donations and assistance, where we saw the need for this. Discussions throughout the year with Government Ministers have been fruitful and the PSC is committed to promote National Unity, to encourage investment and to create employment for the betterment of Guyanese”, it said.
As part of its social responsibility, it said that members of the PSC through a Public-Private Partnership with Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo and Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, donated in excess of twenty-five million dollars of foodstuff and construction materials to hurricane devastated countries.
The PSC pointed out that the year 2017 started with the closure of the Wales Estate and ended with massive redundancies from the Skeldon, Rosehall and Enmore estates, leaving at least 5000 unemployed and with serious repercussions for 2018.
“The Commission has articulated its position on this matter and stand by its proposal which was previously submitted asking that Government reverses these decisions and rethink a plausible solution that would alleviate the dire economic and social consequences of layoffs and hardships”, the PSC declared.
As a business related organization, it said its engagements with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Business throughout 2017 were very positive.
“We understand the importance of Public-Private Dialogues and are very elated that the Minister of Business, Hon. Dominic Gaskin, is making great headway to develop this mechanism. Of significance, we take this opportunity to congratulate Minister Gaskin and the Inter-American Development Bank for their monumental undertaking, “enhancing the national quality infrastructure for economic diversification and trade promotion” project. The Commission is (delighted) for these developments which will surely benefit the business community. We are ready to contribute to the National Export and Investment Promotion Strategy and the Special Economic Zones in Guyana”, it said.
In relation to the threat from Venezuela, the PSC says it stands in support of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, in ensuring claims to our lands can be refuted.
The PSC said it must commend the Guyana Police Force for their valiant efforts throughout the year to maintain law and order in Guyana.
“The PSC has been in constant dialogue with the police force on matters of safety and we are happy with their response. We look forward to continue working with members of police force to ensure that businesses and their clients could work in an environment where there is no fear of being robbed”, it said.