Opening new doors (and new challenges) to our small businesses

The announcement by Finance Minister Winston Jordan in his budget presentation that government intends to activate a provision of the Small Business Act of 2004 that allows for medium and small enterprises to access up to 20 percent of government contracts will be music to the ears of those smaller goods and service providers who have been complaining for years about being locked out of access to contracts for services to the state even in circumstances where they say they are capable of providing those services.

The Town Clerk and the Stabroek Market Wharf

It is probably about two weeks (or thereabouts) since Mr. Royston King, the new Town Clerk, publicly announced that he would be giving priority attention to the rehabilitation of the collapsed section of the Stabroek Market wharf – and while that exercise is going on – the relocation of at least some of the vendors who are now displaced.

The President and the rice industry

It is evidently not by accident that in one of his relatively early public presentations substantively connected to the country’s economy President David Granger has signalled his concern for the challenges confronting the rice industry and his government’s interest in supporting the sector in its anticipated response to the problem.

Small vendors brooding over ‘no GuyExpo’ disclosure

Since the disclosure in the Friday July 10 issue of this newspaper to the effect that there will be no GuyExpo this year, we have spoken with quite a few vendors who customarily offer items of food, clothing, ornaments and costume jewellery for sale at the event.

PetroCaribe: Trust irretrievably imperiled?

Prior to Minister Noel Holder’s intervention earlier this week to announce that the situation with regard to Guyana’s rice exports to neighbouring Venezuela was not as dire as had been initially thought, rice farmers, millers and the populace as a whole would have experienced some heart-stopping moments in the matter of the fate of huge volumes of rice that had already been consigned to Venezuela.

Small Business Development

Like so many of the recent public pronouncements that have been made by the new political administration regarding its agenda for development, those recent ones made by Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin about government’s plans to create an enabling environment in which small businesses can better thrive, amount to commitments, the actualization or otherwise of which could help determine the shape and state of the economy in the period ahead.

No post-elections honeymoon on flooding

There was a familiar air of fretfulness and frustration among market vendors at the start of the week as they bemoaned their loss of trade and spoilage of goods arising out of last weekend’s ferocious downpour which, predictably, immersed in the capital and other coastal areas in several inches of water.

Development and the diaspora

The goodwill that has been extended to the new political administration by nationals in the diaspora is a corollary to the high level of interest that had been evinced in the elections campaign by Guyanese residing abroad.

Public/private sector partnership and the new political administration

The presence of President David Granger out and about last Sunday morning, taking a look at work being undertaken to unblock clogged drains in the city and to restore the once impressive Independence Arch in Brickdam served to send a signal of his interest in restoring a sense of physical order in the country’s capital and repairing our historic sites and monuments.

Small business and official addiction to lip service

After several years of attending events like GuyExpo, interacting with manufacturers, particularly in the agro-processing sector, monitoring the emergence of the Small Business Bureau and attending endless fora where small business issues are discussed, this newspaper has arrived at some unshakable conclusions.

Guyanese in the diaspora

Jamaica will host its Sixth Biennial Jamaican Diaspora Conference during the period June 13 to 18 2015 at the Montego Bay Convention Center.

Taking the local craft industry forward

At face value it may not sound like a great deal and, moreover, it is only one of a multitude of initiatives required to address the varied challenges facing the local craftspeople and artisans and their industries.

The Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association

Whether President of the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA) Clinton Williams would have made much headway during his presentation at last Friday’s Annual General Meeting in his quest to persuade his audience that the umbrella body had made meaningful strides in overseeing the development of the manufacturing sector under his watch is not something that can be determined from a distance.

Giving real meaning to Occupational Safety and Health

More than a week into April – Occupational Safety and Health Month – little if anything has been heard from either the government or the private sector about plans to commemorate what, in Guyana’s particular circumstances is an occasion of considerable significance if only because of our own less than stellar record on the issue of workplace safety and health.

Tracking the MSE Project

It has been two months since around 60 beneficiaries received grants totalling some $20 million under the Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE) Development and Building Alternative Livelihoods for Vulnerable Groups’ project.

Drug trafficking and our export markets

In relatively recent years—at least as far as we know—a range of our food exports have been used as conduits for the movement of illicit drugs to export markets, a practice that has begun to negatively affect the country’s reputation as a legitimate exporter.

Supporting the entrepreneurial ambitions of our womenfolk

The keenness of women to embrace self-employment reflects itself at several levels of our society, from the preponderance of vendors in the various municipal markets, arcades and pavements in the city and its environs to the more established ‘high street’ and services entities in the beauty, entertainment and other sectors.

Bettering our abysmal workplace safety and health credentials

We take our role as a “business supplement” to mean, among other things, that we have a responsibility to report not only on substantive business issues but on related ones as well, that is, matters which we feel have a critical bearing on business and the economy.

The Avon closure

There were some revealing stories to be told this week by persons, mostly women, involved in the marketing of Avon products here in Guyana following the announcement by the American company that it was closing its distribution operations in sixteen Caribbean countries, including Guyana.

Public, private sector indifference to workplace safety and health

Up to the time of the writing of this editorial neither the public nor the private sector had bothered to make a public comment on the fact that there were two workplace accidents on the two preceding Fridays; the first in the bauxite industry and the second in the rice sector.

Holding BCGI’s Russian management to account

A few weeks ago Natural Resources and Environment Minister Robert Persaud provided responses to questions put to him by this newspaper about conditions in the mining sector covering both the gold and bauxite industries and embracing such issues as the general state of health of the respective industries, safety and health, the environment and – in the particular case of the bauxite industry, industrial relations.