Private Sector Commission

Chairman’s Christmas Message December 18, 2018 I am constrained to…

Chairman’s Christmas Message
December 18, 2018

I am constrained to offer a few thoughts at this special time of the year. I would first of all like to thank all we have interacted with for the cooperation and goodwill which you have afforded me since my assumption of the Chairmanship of the Private Sector Commission.

As we celebrate this holy season, I wish to reflect briefly on the year. 2018 has been a busy year for us and we have had engagements with stakeholders ranging from policy makers to the diplomatic community and to scores of companies, both local and foreign, who have expressed their faith in our future by channeling investments into our economy.

We have successfully hosted a Seminar on Corporate Governance which has propelled the need for effective governance of our companies onto the front burner. We have also hosted a Seminar on Oil and Gas and plans are in place for a larger event which we will hold in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank early in 2019 and which will explore the dangers of the Dutch Disease and how it can be avoided.

In 2018, the Private Sector Commission was closely involved in the planning of the GUYTIE, a grand exhibition which targeted potential investors from around the world and showcased the best that Guyana has to offer and which was a great success.

We also had extensive consultations with the Guyana Elections Commission and fielded the largest group of Observers who worked tirelessly to monitor the Local Government Elections in November and played a small part in ensuring their success.

The Commission was consulted by the Honourable Minister of Finance as he planned for Budget 2019 and one measure recommended again by the Commission to increase investment, and grow the economy, was the gradual lowering of the Corporate Income Tax rate to 20% over a period of ten years. We are satisfied that progress has been made towards this ideal with the Minister’s lowering of the rate for non-commercial companies to 25%.

As we move inexorably towards the New Year, I would like to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts on plans and expectations for the New Year. As I have mentioned earlier, we will be hosting a Seminar on the Dutch Disease early in the year. This will be followed in February by another Seminar on the Oil and Gas Sector and how businesses can best position themselves to reap maximum benefits.

In early March we will, in collaboration with the British High Commission, host a Seminar on post-Brexit arrangements for trade between the United Kingdom and Guyana. We expect that this Seminar will put to rest the concerns of local businesses. We will also have another in our series of Seminars on Corporate Governance, this time on the governance of family-owned businesses. These Seminars are hosted in collaboration with the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute.

In terms of my expectations, my very first wish, and this is shared by all in the Private Sector Commission, is for genuine unity between the political parties who have the option of uniting Guyana through their collective will. I would also like to urge all stakeholders to work towards supporting the Government of the day, regardless of personal political preference.

In 2019 we will be even closer to harvesting the fruits of our newly discovered oil reserves and, even as we welcome foreign investors to our shores, I would like to see our local companies also investing in the sector but in the context of a level playing field with a clearly defined local content policy.

A focus of the Private Sector Commission in 2019 will be more female participation not only in our Sub-Committees, which I have been calling for and actively promoting, but in the senior ranks of our member companies. We will be working with the United Nations Development Programme to push for the adoption of the Gender Seal which is a commitment to institute the necessary policies and practices which advance the participation of women in our firms.

The Commission will continue to work with GoInvest, the GRA, the Ministries of Public Infrastructure, Business and Finance and all other entities with whom we have collaborated this year. We will also continue our work in developing and finalising the Green State Development Strategy which will guide our collective efforts as a nation for years to come.

In closing, I would like first of all to thank the members of our Executive and Council whose unstinting support has been invaluable. I look forward to working with you all in 2019. To all of our members, partners and friends and to the nation, I would like to wish you all the blessings of the Christmas season and a New Year filled with joy, prosperity and good health.

Thank you all.

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