Several weeks ago this newspaper expressed its considerable disappointment over what it considered to be a missed opportunity by the private sector arising out of a competition by the regional business support body, the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) that resulted in winners from various other parts of the region being able to have their goods and services paraded at the recently concluded Olympic Games in London.
One of the frequently discussed business issues in Guyana is the extent to which opportunities exist for the growth of the enterprises in the small business sector.
It has been quite some time since Caribbean Community (Caricom) has been pondering the issue of regional food security.
It took us several weeks to acquire a copy of a paper presented to a seminar on banking and finance by the Governor of the Bank of Guyana.
For the time being at least Guyanese author Maureen Rampertab’s recently launched second book of stories for children, Story Time, is probably safe from the clutches of the predators whose illegal copying and selling of school texts has robbed many an author, publisher and local bookstore of revenues to which they are entitled.
In a recent interview with this newspaper Director of Tourism at the Guyana Tourism Authority, Indranauth Haralsingh, who is serving as the public relations ‘point man’ for this year’s GUYEXPO, declared that the event which begins later this month will be seeking to attract more overseas buyers in order to expand external markets for Guyana’s manufactured products.
In a recent interview with this newspaper the new Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Ronald Webster said that small local clothing manufacturers concerned over the importation of cheap clothing and what they consider to be the unfair competition that such imports present for local seamstresses and other manufacturers should make their views known to the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association.
Last week’s meeting between President Donald Ramotar and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) followed what has now become a familiar pattern of the Head of State having to step in to resolve issues between the government and one sector or another rather than having the matter placed in the hands of the relevant Ministry or state agency.
In recent weeks local gold miners and particularly the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), the umbrella organization for small and medium-scale gold miners have been making clear their discomfort with the role of the recently established Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment.
Several months ago in an interview with this newspaper, General Secretary of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), Lincoln Lewis, expressed concern that business houses had become so preoccupied with profits, they were increasingly unmindful of matters that have to do with the welfare of their employees.
One does not get the impression that the private sector in our sister Caricom country, Barbados, stands on ceremony as far as engaging the government on issues that have to do with their respective roles in ensuring that the business community remains what we in Guyana loosely describe as the engine of growth.
One of the issues which the Building Expo has brought to the fore has to do with what would appear to be some important changes in our construction culture that could become permanent features of building in Guyana.
This is not the first occasion on which this newspaper has commented on difficulties relating to access to information on matters of business and the economy, which ought correctly to be placed in the public domain.
On May 11 this newspaper published an editorial on the new Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law by US President Barack Obama in the hope that both the Government of Guyana and the private sector would be reminded of the need to take action to address what is in fact the most sweeping reform of US food safety laws in more than half a century and, more importantly from our vantage point, probably the most formidable threat ever to access to the US market for local exporters.
This is not the first time that the Government of Guyana has intervened to address a shortage of poultry meat on the local market by granting licences for the temporary importation of limited quantities of a commodity that has long been an important part of the local diet.
Twice recently local private sector enterprises missed out on golden opportunities to be considered for the international marketing of goods and services, which were made available through projects funded by the Caribbean Export Development Agency, commonly referred to as Caribbean Export.
Since 2010 farmers in several regions of the country have been participating in what is best described as an experiment designed to further promote the application of hydroponics to agriculture in Guyana.
Just about every senior government official – including President Donald Ramotar – has had his or her tilt at the parliamentary opposition’s cuts to the 2012 budget; the repetitive nature of the well-publicized official protests becoming sufficiently repetitive to cause them to resemble a none too ingenious public relations campaign designed to cause it to appear as though the budget cuts had placed the government’s spending plans for this year in imminent and irreversible jeopardy.
Not too many people bother to bat an eyelid these days when a public announcement is made about the uncovering of a corruption-related occurrence at the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Expressions of concern from the private sector over what it says is a scarcity of skills in key areas of the productive sector are nothing new.
The fact that there is as yet no evidence of a focused response from either the government or the private sector to the recently promulgated US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is reflective of a seeming indifference to a development, which has direct and potentially serious implications for the country’s manufacturing sector (though not exclusively) and particularly for aspiring small businesses within the sector.
The traditionally conservative nature of local umbrella business organisations sometimes makes sound and effective reporting on matters of business and the economy particularly challenging since issues and questions often arise outside the scope of information that is provided in the reports that are made public by those organisations.
In recent years, gold mining in Guyana has drawn attention to itself for more reasons than the fact that the industry has prospered on account of continually rising world market prices for gold.
Guyana is by no means the only country in the world where the utility entities and public facilities are targeted by thieves seeking to strip those installations of metal infrastructure in order to cash in on a lucrative global scrap metal industry.
New opportunities may lie on the horizon for Guyanese women in business following the establishment in March of a regional organization named Women Entrepreneurs (WEN), a US State Depart-ment-backed organization that is concerned with identifying resources available through international organizations with which to support the growth and development of women-run enterprises in the region.