Looking after our small and micro businesses

Evidence of the emergence of an increasing number of micro and small business initiatives in recent years has raised questions about the longer-term future of the small business sector as a whole.

Security and the business sector

At this very moment we are living in one of those now familiar cycles of violence that targets the business community; violence that is sudden and frightening and which leaves even those of us who are not its actual victims chastened.

Exploiting Mash

One of the more forgettable memories of our annual Mashramani celebrations is the utterly deplorable state in which the streets, walkways, and canals are left once the revellers have come and gone.

Public disclosure over anomalies in the aviation sector

Part of the problem, which we continue to highlight, in bringing deficiencies in areas of public sector service delivery into the public domain and seeking to have those deficiencies corrected, has to do with the disinclination of public officials to ‘come clean’ on issues that are officially deemed to be sensitive.

Municipal markets

This newspaper’s coverage of business issues over the past year or so has included extensive chronicling of the role that municipal markets play in the broader national commercial culture.

The Food Court accident and the Ministry of Labour

Time and again in recent years the point has been made publicly that the significant increase in the construction of large buildings in various parts of the country ought to be more than sufficient cause for us to shine a more prominent spotlight on the issue of safety and health in the building sector.

Poisoned chalice?

In a recent interview with this publication, Guyanese-born academic and security specialist Dr Ivelaw Griffith spoke at length on regional security issues, including those which he considered to be the key threats to the safety of the Caribbean and ways in which the region might act collectively to help reduce its vulnerabilities in this sector.

An incurable disease?

As evidence of the approaching Christmas holidays becomes more apparent, the signs of increased commercial activity manifest themselves in a heightened appetite for the profligate disposal of garbage in the commercial capital.

A reminder of the way we live

There was something ironic about the late night/early morning deluge that brought business in Georgetown to a near crippling halt on Wednesday.

The Georgetown Chamber, fires and the commercial capital

While the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry is to be commended for the unfailing focus on fire prevention in its promotional and public relations initiatives that target mostly the urban business community, one wonders just how much impact its efforts are having and, indeed, whether those efforts are attracting the attention of what one might call critical audiences.

Accounting for public funds: What the Auditor General is finding

This newspaper has grown accustomed to revelations contained in the Reports of the Auditor General, some, indeed many of which set out with considerable clarity the cavalier manner in which public funds are spent and the absence of accountability that attends the process.

Disturbing tradeoffs?

The Government of Guyana has signed on to a complex agreement with the Government of Norway under which Guyana is to receive from Norway significant sums of money, in fact, tens of millions of US dollars, based on verifiable evidence of Guyana’s  preservation of its rainforests.

Still no official disclosure on the land-for-farming deal

After many weeks of silence on the land-for-farming deal between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, crystallized in a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this year, Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy still appears disinclined to make the details public.

The GMSA must engage government on manufacturing sector’s headaches

As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) published a relatively brief but insightful assessment of the condition of the manufacturing sector which dealt in large measure with some of the critical impediments to its growth; also included were the GMSA’s views on how the challenges facing the sector can be addressed.

Dr Fletcher-Paul, regional food security and the cassava competition

In the same interview during which she told us she believed Caribbean governments were displaying evidence of a greater sense of urgency as far as the food security of the region is concerned, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Resident Representative Dr Lystra Fletcher-Paul conceded that the pace of change was, perhaps, not matching the urgency of the situation.

GuyExpo: not all good, but not all bad

For all the vigorous and, frankly, fanciful and far-fetched efforts of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) to sell GuyExpo XV as a flawless success, it is patently obvious that nothing can be further from the truth.

Slipping off the shackles of political correctness?

Much of what Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) President Clinton Urling had to say last weekend in his address at a Chamber dinner held to mark the launch of its 2013 Business Directory had to do with crime, its impact on the business community and what could or should be done to address the problem.

Still in the dark on the land-for- farming issue

There can now be no doubt that the realization of the Guyana/Trinidad and Tobago land-for farming deal reached a few weeks ago by the two governments may well be in some measure of doubt.

A lack of openness

Much has already been said in recent days, both here and in Trinidad and Tobago, about the agreement struck between the two governments on the allocation of large tracts of land here for the pursuit of farming ventures by Trinidadian investors.

A breakthrough for regional food security?

The length of time that it took to conclude the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) setting out the parameters for an initiative designed to enhance T&T food security can perhaps be excused on the grounds that the MOU had to do with making large tracts of local land available to the government of the twin-island Republic.

Time to take GuyExpo to a different level

This year’s GuyExpo which takes place from October 3 to 6 will likely attract the customary throngs of visitors to the Sophia Exhibition Site, most of whom will expect to be provided with some measure of entertainment.

Maduro’s visit, PetroCaribe and Guyana/ Venezuela relations

A day is much too brief a period in which to undertake any substantive discussions and sign on to any new, significant agreements so that, in large measure, tomorrow’s  one-day visit here by Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro simply follows a symbolic pattern between the two countries in which the respective Heads of State put in a presence in each other’s capitals.

Marketing our tourism product at home

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago announced earlier this month that it would spend TT$5 million over the next eighteen months to raise public awareness in the twin-island republic regarding the importance of its tourism product.

The GCCI’s security seminar

This newspaper first learnt of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Security Seminar several weeks ago on the day that several sections of the media reported a spate of robberies in the city.

Economic discourse in a season of political rancour

If the full details of what we are told will be an important two-day (August 14-15) national economic summit are yet to be made known, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wondering aloud about the significance of this forum and about just what the anticipated outcomes are.

Is the local art and craft industry marking time?

We are yet to hear any further details of what we were told was a string of unfortunate occurrences that led to a number of exhibitors from Guyana being unable to participate in an Atlanta, USA trade fair and exhibition in which they had invested considerable sums of money, hoping, presumably, to recoup (at least) some of their investments through sales and, in the longer term, to create more permanent markets.

Crime, the business community and the police force

It was clear from the tone of Tuesday’s Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) media release that the chamber is pretty sore over what it believes is the evidence provided in Monday’s spate of robberies that the police are not doing enough to protect the business community.

The crisis in the manufacturing sector demands shrewd leadership

It appears that the local manufacturing sector – or perhaps more accurately its umbrella organisation, the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) – has opted for deafening silence in the wake of what is widely known to be a condition of crisis in the local industry.

The investment forum: What the Canadian envoy had to say

Once you read the address delivered by Canada’s High Commissioner to Guyana David Devine at the June 27 Guyana Investment Forum it is difficult to evade the conclusion that its primary purpose was to remind the political administration and the private sector that the criteria for a convivial investment climate goes beyond the framing of laws and regulations.

The government and the private sector

Our experience of engaging the business community has taught us that many, perhaps most businessmen and women, prefer to keep a low profile, avoid the media and simply get on with the business of doing business.

Take a bow UG!

The University of Guyana (UG) continues to come under sustained criticism for reasons that have to do with deficiencies in the quality of service it provides.

Focused and assertive private sector representation

Recent conversations with the Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) suggest that both organisations are keen to pursue agendas that have to do with enhancing the quality of the private sector and increasing its contribution to national wealth.

Business Support Organisations and the urban garbage disposal crisis

If it has long been accepted that the filth and desecration that is commonplace on the streets and sidewalks and in gutters and alleyways in our city are, by and large, the remains of the trading day and that much of the onus is on our urban traders – whether they be street vendors or established merchants – to take some measure of responsibility for the disposal of garbage, the practice of indiscriminate dumping persists unabated.

Heralding change in the gold-mining sector

The commencement of a slide in gold prices on the international market in April coincided almost precisely with new external signals that the local gold-mining sector will have to begin to contemplate what one might describe as life without mercury.

The determined and the durable

Clifford Reis’ brief summary of aspects of the performance of the group of companies comprising Banks DIH Ltd over the past six months, underscores the entity’s ongoing commitment to strengthening its capacity to provide the goods and services it offers to Guyanese consumers.

Investment and image: The Bai Shan Lin episode

When this newspaper spoke with Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Ronald Webster seeking an official private sector comment on the alleged recent transgressions of Chinese investor Bai Shan Lin, he told us he was not ideally positioned to pronounce on the issue, as he did not have any pertinent information at his disposal.

Regularising the small business sector

The recent publication of the 2012 Report of the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED) throws a further positive spotlight on a local small business sector which, in recent months, has already been illuminated by two important recent developments; first, there was the announcement by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) that it was opening a membership window to small businesses which, hitherto, could not become members of the Chamber.

Carib Export and the growth of local small businesses

One of the realities that is increasingly being driven home to small business owners and aspirants, Business Support Organisations (BSOs) and the government is that it really makes no sense standing around and bellyaching over the lack of access which SMEs must endure in their efforts to secure funding from local commercial banks for the expansion/ upgrading of small businesses or for the creation of new ones.

Corruption and the privatisation of state functions

Correcting Guyana’s unflattering image as a corruption-ridden country will have to be a priority of his administration if some of his other goals like attracting foreign investment are to be realised.

The price of gold

Recent slippages in the price of gold, particularly those that occurred between two Mondays ago and last Friday have been sufficient to raise eyebrows and, in some cases, even to trigger a hint of nervousness.

An opportunity to kick start the small business sector

This newspaper has commented in previous weeks on the air of expectancy which, in recent months, appears to have enveloped the small business sector, a circumstance which is being attributed to the advent of the Small Business Bureau and more recently the release by the IDB of the first tranche of funding

Legislation must help exporters meet international food safety requirements

Having said little in the previous months about the continual unfolding of restrictive regulations in the United States arising out of that country’s enactment of its new food safety legislation and the implications for food exports to the United States, the Government of Guyana has used its 2013 budget presentation to the National Assembly to provide the first significant indication that it is aware of the legislation and its implications.

A breakthrough year for the small business sector?

There is an air of expectancy in the small business sector associated with the emergence of a suite of exciting support projects under the auspices of the state-run Small Business Bureau.

Guyana should participate in regional exporters’ colloquium

Up until now we have been unable to determine whether Guyana’s public or  private sector will be represented at the March 20-21 Caribbean Exporters’ Colloquium at the Hilton Barbados Resort during which, according to a media release from the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), attendees “will be challenged to take an in-depth look at the report of the West Indian Commission – Time for Action – followed by an analysis of the region’s exports.” Individual Caribbean territories, including Guyana, have done much bellyaching over the years about challenges associated with access to extra-regional markets for goods and services being produced in the region and the available evidence suggests that we have not been able to do much to surmount the problem.

The Ministry of Home Affairs’ Chinese headache

Wherever and whenever we experience a persistent spate of robberies – whether these may target sections of the business community, private homes or citizens going about their routine business – those institutions responsible for protecting the citizenry have every right to worry.