Every year, small intrepid bands of local businesspeople – mostly from the art and craft, jewellery and dress design industries – show up at the local expos – GuyExpo, Berbice Expo and Essequibo event, among others – and make their way to trade shows mostly in the region, bringing with them modest consignments of the goods they have to offer in the hope that their goods will find favour with the market.
The Stabroek Business has, on quite a few occasions, raised the issue of the constraints affecting the growth of the agro processing sector, not least the inability of cottage industry operators to secure financing for expansion, the scarcity of modern processing infrastructure, which limits agro processing largely to domestic kitchen operations and of course the underdevelopment of the packaging and labelling industry and the impact of these on the competitiveness of local agro produce.
More than any of the various sectors comprising the Guyana economy, the manufacturing sector had been ‘marking time’ for several years.
If President Donald Trump’s move to slow the pace of the thaw in relations between Washing-ton and Havana initiated by his predecessor was intended in any to dim the enthusiasm of Caricom countries keen to strengthen their own ties with Cuba in what these days is a discernably liberalized economic environment, that ploy has simply not worked.
As a nation, we are approaching the point of possibly becoming a major producer of oil and gas producer, though just how big a player we will be can only be determined with the passage of time in circumstances where our understanding of the industry, its dynamics and its complexities is worryingly limited.
The visit to Brazil in May by a delegation of heads of various state agencies including the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), the Guyana National Bureau of Standards and the Lands and Surveys Department and the more recent visit here by a delegation of Trinidad and Tobago business leaders under the auspices of that country’s Chamber of Commerce were both focused, in large measure, on exploring trade and investment opportunities, which is among the issues that have featured in national discourses on the performance of the country’s economy and the prognosis for the future.
Arising out of the media briefing earlier this week by Chief Inspector of the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) Mr Shailendra Rai, we now know that hundreds of measuring devices including scales, masses and rulers that have not been verified as reliable and accurate were being employed to weigh and otherwise measure quantities in the business sector.
Our decision to embark on a series of articles on food safety particularly as it relates to street vending derived from informal discussions with a handful of readers, insights secured from the usually helpful Director of the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department (GAFDD) Mr Marlan Cole and what one might call street observations by writers.
A review of the performance of the “other crops” sector for the first four months of this year prepared by the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) painted what, from all appearances, was a justifiably glowing picture of the yield from commonly used greens, vegetables and fruit in Guyana.
Earlier this week we received some uplifting news from the agricultural sector, through the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) regarding a breakthrough in the cultivation of some crops not previously known to have been cultivated on a sustained basis in commercial quantities in Guyana, including onion and potato.
We note with a measure of relief the fact that just when it seemed that relations between government and the private sector were set to go completely off the rails, representatives of the two sides managed to sit down together last week at an encouragingly high level to engage on an agenda which included a number of long-standing and important issues.
There was something decidedly farcical about the recent National Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) Awards ceremony.
Not for the first time in recent weeks the Stabroek Business is commenting on what it perceives to be a strained relationship between government and the private sector and what is widely believed to be the need for a meeting between the two sides.
Last week the Stabroek Business reported on what appeared to us to be a somewhat unusual though not unique increase in the volume of greens, vegetables and fruit on the urban retail market and what appeared to be, at a certain point, a condition in which, even what in most instances were ‘bargain’ prices, supply appeared to outstrip demand.
Based on what he had to say on the issue during a recent lengthy interview for a forthcoming issue of the Guyana Review, it is clear that University of Guyana (UG) Vice Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith believes that the future of the university will be heavily dependent on the quality of the relationship that it can cultivate with the private sector.
By the time this editorial is read the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be winding down what is arguably its most important Heads of Mission conferences in several years.
We note with interest that two high-profile private sector officials, one a veteran leader of both the Georgetown Chamber and the Private Sector Commission and the other the incoming President of the Chamber have endorsed the sentiment expressed in our editorial last Friday regarding the desirability of a meeting between the government and the private sector.
A few days ago the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) issued a public statement echoing much of what the Private Sector Commission (PSC) has already had to say about the business sector’s unease over what it sees as indicators of a decline in the Guyana economy.
Reporting in sections of the media on the implementation of what is being termed syndicates which we understand to mean cooperatives comprising groups of gold miners who will have mining access to traditionally closed areas has been fast and furious.
The issue of investor confidence, that is to say whether or not Guyana is currently enjoying a business environment the conviviality of which lends itself to the acceleration of investor interest in the country has been a matter of muted discourse in business circles for some time now.
It is quite obvious from the tone of the statement issued by the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) earlier this week that the relationship between the miners’ body and the political administration is growing worse.
An intense if somewhat muted row has been ensuing between some local business importers and the Government Analyst Food & Drugs Department (GA/FDD) over what has become the prevalent practice by some distributors of importing volumes of food items that do not adhere to the requirements that obtain under the Food and Drugs Act.
It is now just over three years since then president Donald Ramotar launched the Small Enterprise Development and Building Alternative Livelihoods for Vulnerable Groups (MSED) project in October 2013, which is intended to support the goals of the Government of Guyana in the areas of poverty alleviation.
From its inception the announcement last year regarding the imminent introduction of parking meters had always been met with a public response that reflected as a priority concern the issue of affordability.
Accelerated moves towards a thaw in relations between Havana and Washington (though we must wait and see how the relationship unfolds under the Donald Trump administration) have triggered consequential developments here in the Caribbean where a number of Caricom countries are beginning to take a closer look at the economic opportunities that might be on offer in a liberalized Cuban economy.