Notwithstanding the fact that small and micro enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in the economic life of most countries, particularly in the instances of developing countries like Guyana, the history of the Business Support Organisations (BSO) in Guyana which includes the Private Sector Commission (PSC), has not, as a matter of policy, reflected in their pursuits, a commitment to providing sustained support for what we in Guyana deem to be small and micro enterprises.
There was something chillingly blunt about what appeared to be as much an admonition as a warning from the resident representative of WHO/PAHO, Dr William Adu-Krow, a few days ago, about what he appears to believe has been a dangerously delinquent public response to the strongly recommended ‘social distancing’ urging in the face of the current rampaging coronavirus.
It would appear, given the fact that there had already been reports of cases of the Coronavirus elsewhere in the Caribbean, that Guyanese, as we are inclined to do in these situations, had pre-empted the arrival of the malady here.
Evidence of the continual strengthening of links between the agricultural and agro-processing sectors is evidenced in the fact that, increasingly and as their financial fortunes become more favourable, agro-processors are beginning to examine the prospects of investing in modest agricultural plots, sufficient to cultivate crops that are tied to their agro-processing pursuits and perhaps to utilise whatever remains for their own purposes.
A week ago today the Small Business Bureau (SBB) held its first ever Awards Presentation ceremony to recognize those small businesses which, with its help have been able to grow their enterprises to a level that had won them pleasing levels of recognition and patronage.
This week’s disclosure that, in the period ahead, Guyana will be home to a US$75 million Marriott-branded hotel is probably not altogether surprising given what we are continually being told is likely to be the considerable levels of foreign investment that will come on the back of the emergence of our oil and gas industry.
By yesterday morning and arising out of the latest in an unending series of management/worker confrontations between the majority-owned Russian bauxite behemoth and its Guyanese workers, there had reportedly arisen a standoff between residents of the Aroaima community and armed police, the issue that spawned this turn of events being the earlier blocking and unblocking of the Berbice River in the area of Kwakwani.
In recent weeks, the Stabroek Business has published several stories which, in one way or another, focus on what we believe to have been the accomplishments of the agro-processing sector in 2019.
A somewhat muted debate on the subject of food security which had for a while been accentuated by the advent of oil as a factor in the Guyana economy is beginning.
This week’s disclosure that a delegation comprising representatives of sixteen Jamaican companies will be visiting Guyana later this month to pursue what has been described as “mutually beneficial business opportunities,” is a development of note that ought not to be allowed to pass without public comment.
It is now just over a year since the Small Business Procurement Programme, provided for under Section 11:1 of the Small Business Act of 2004 was scheduled to come into effect.
In a matter of less than five years Guyana has ‘graduated from being a poor, underdeveloped country with little in terms of developmental transformation to look to, at least in the near to medium term, to a country that has captured the attention of the international community on account of what experts have termed a “world class” oil find.
While we cannot but concede that oil and gas has, understandably, cornered the lion’s share of business reporting in 2019, the Stabroek Business’ focus on the small business sector over the past year has been a function its own deliberate and largely successful efforts to raise its national profile, considerable impediments and challenges notwithstanding.
There can now be no question that a gale force wind of expectation is sweeping all corners of Guyana arising out of the prospects deriving from our new-found oil and gas expectations, and what is now the imminent arrival of ‘first oil,’ in a matter of days, assuming that the pronouncement of the adjusted timeline announced some weeks ago holds good. The air of excitement has drifted far beyond our own geographic space, across the Caribbean and into the international community and even before the ‘first oil’ arrives like some elaborately attired celebrity, the global oil media are already predicting that crude from Guyana is likely to be impacting on the behaviour of oil prices in the virtually immediate future.
For much of 2019 the Stabroek Business has sought to focus editorial attention on the small business sector, particularly the agro processing sub sector and even more specifically the emergence of women as the main drivers behind agro processing this year.
Credit must go to both the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) and the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA) for what has now become their successive ‘offerings’ of the UncappeD and Farmers Market Day events, both of which are essentially product-promotion events with an eye to providing markets, albeit limited ones, for our farmers and our agro-processors.
It is not just Guyanese who have been slipping in and out of daydreams arising out of the seemingly limitless prospects that repose in the country’s fast arriving oil and gas sector.
Two things have long been clear about the challenges facing the Government Analyst-Food & Drugs Department (GAFDD) in the matter of its responsibility to protect the country from the proliferation of likely unwholesome imports into the country and the attendant consequences.
The report in the Wednesday November 13 issue of the Stabroek News that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) did not, after all, provide certifying clearance for the four containers of assorted food items imported from Canada by Guyanese businessman Faizal Asif Iqbal Alli which were impounded on the authority of the Government Analyst-Food & Drugs after being deemed unsafe for consumption is both relieving and disturbing.
This week’s announcement that the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) is collaborating with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to help local agro-processors improve their competency in areas that are critical to the growth and development of their respective business ventures is good news and this newspaper’s first reaction to the announcement is that no effort should be spared to ensure that the optimum number of agro-processors, critically, from the farthest flung areas of the country as funding and logistics permit, secure an opportunity to benefit from the project.