Minister of State, Joseph Harmon last evening said that the private sector and the government are not adversaries, but rather partners in development, and he pledged a swift response to an action plan for development drawn up by the PSC.
According to a Ministry of the Presidency statement, Harmon made these remarks in an invited comment at the Private Sector Commission’s (PSC) Corporate dinner hosted at the Rotunda, Banks DIH Limited, Thirst Park. He said that such engagements are aimed at bolstering the relationship between the Government and the Private Sector since the administration strongly believes that private enterprise is the engine of growth of the economy.
“We believe that we have to set the regulatory and the other frameworks, which would allow businesses to flourish and to provide that good life for the people of Guyana that we are talking about. So this dinner here tonight is basically my meeting with some of the CEOs [Chief Executive Officers] of major companies of the country to discuss the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS), local content in legislation and matters of that nature. I know they will also want to discuss how crime impacts their businesses so it is going to be a very interactive dinner. I am happy to be here to represent the views of the President and the Government so that the Private sector understands that this is what we are really about. If you have a well-functioning Govern-ment and a well-functioning private sector then it rebounds to the benefit of the Guyanese people and that is what we want,” he said.
Last year, the Government and the PSC hosted a two-day Business Summit at the Marriott Hotel. The brainchild of President David Granger, the summit sought to ensure that the interests of all business owners including farmers, fisher-folk, miners, loggers, traders and workers could be considered and that the event would set up the basis for consultation.
An outcome of that Summit was the crafting of the ‘Private Sector Commission Action Plan for the Sustainable Development of Guyana’. Harmon received a copy of the Plan last evening and noted that the Government is committed to scrutinising the document and engaging the Commission on it at the earliest possible time.
“We will study this document and certainly, you will get the Government’s response to it in a short space of time so that we can move this country forward. I believe that for far too long, we have operated in little silos; the Government silo, the private sector silo and the Opposition silo and it is time that we break down these silos in the interest of the people of this country. If for no other reason, I think if this document serves that purpose then I think we would have had time well spent at that Conference,” he said.
According to the statement, Chairman and Managing Director of Banks DIH Limited, Clifford Reis, in a brief comment, said that while there are areas for the Government and the private sector to increase its cooperation, at the same time, the private sector must recognise its role is not solely to criticise.
“The private sector has a serious part to play in not only criticising Government, but it has to work with Government and develop the future of this country… It is about time we start working together. Let people know that we are one nation, one people and that we have a good future,” he said.
Eddie Boyer, Chairman of the PSC, in an invited comment said that the Commission appreciates the engagement with the Minister of State as it is his third engagement with members of the private sector in just over one week.
“We have great hopes because the Minister of State has always given us a great sense of how the Government and the private sector ought to work together so we would be engaging him on some of the issues regarding the wider Private Sector and issues where we can play a part and the public private partnership along with the fact that we have done a series of events together. At the end of it, we want to create employment, we want to see the Guyanese people benefit from jobs and benefit from the industries such as the oil and gas, which is coming on stream,” he said.
The statement said that the dinner was attended by executives of the PSC, Banks DIH Limited, Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT), BK Group of Companies and Air Services Limited among others.