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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There is a dimension to Guyana’s gold-mining industry that is venal, replete with extortion, bribery and violent crime.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Every year the government’s budget proposals never fail to trot out some high-sounding rhetoric intended to send political signals of a commitment to the growth of the small business sector.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Twice in as many weeks Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy has commented on what he perceives to be protectionist trends in intra-regional trade that are locking Guyanese products out of some regional markets.
Time was, almost four decades ago, when the slogan ‘buy local’ was commonplace in Guyana; buying local was regarded as a progressive domestic development designed to encourage Guyanese to consume more of what was produced at home primarily as a means of conserving expenditure on imported foods.
The fatigue and tedium associated with having to continually focus public attention on the problems of garbage collection and disposal in the city and its environs is outweighed only by the importance of getting on top of the problem.
All of the talk that there has been about tourism and its potential to contribute more meaningfully to the country’s economy cannot gainsay the fact that Guyana is not even remotely close to being that tropical tourist paradise which has long been highly marketed to travellers from Europe and North America.
This newspaper has, over the years, been blitzed with stories of businessmen who, for one reason or another, have been denied licences to possess firearms.
After the visit here in November by Trinidad and Tobago Food Production Minister Devant Maraj an announcement had been made to the effect that the governments of the two Caricom countries would sign a Memorandum of Understanding within a matter of days of the visit that would address the details of a collaborative food production initiative involving the two countries.
The strengthening and enforcement of penalties for late payment and non-payment of NIS contributions and the introduction of new legal measures to punish transgressors including the garnisheeing of the income and assets of non-compliant employers are among the matters on which the Eight Actuarial Review have commented.
It did not require the recent intervention of the Chief Medical Officer to make us aware of the fact that food-borne diseases are generally seriously under-reported and may well pose a serious public health threat in Guyana.
Earlier this week the Stabroek Business conducted an interview with two officials of the Forest Products Association (FPA) in order to secure a perspective on the state of the sector.
For all the public comments that have been made about the contribution that gold mining continues to make to the country’s economy, it is clear that far less attention than is warranted is being paid to the downside of the highly touted gold rush.
At the end of every year, with monotonous predictability, talks between the Government of Guyana and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) on the matter of public service wage increases enter into a condition of deadlock.
The seasonal vending that never fails to bring a period of chaos and confusion to the capital is here again.
The recent re-opening of the Guyana Shop inside the completely rebuilt premises housing the New Guyana Marketing Corporation also re-opens a modest window of opportunity for local manufacturers, particularly agro-processors, whose challenges include insufficient adequate outlets through which to market their products.
Not nearly enough public attention is paid to the Auditor General’s Report. If the reverse were true the government would have had to deal with a much more robust public demand that the abysmal standards of accountability that attend the management of the public purse be addressed and that those responsible for what, frequently, is the ill-explained disappearance of public monies be brought to account.
There are several developments in the business sector that could impact positively on local small and medium-sized enterprises.
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.