Private Sector Commission

December 27, 2017 Press Release PSC End of Year Statement…

December 27, 2017

Press Release

PSC End of Year Statement

The private sector is a key element in determining the growth of business and success of a country. In 2017 the Private Sector Commission in Guyana, in partnership with Government, fulfilled this role effectively. The PSC not only engaged the government but worked steadfastly with the Diplomatic Community and International Organizations to develop synergies to address national issues and concerns of the business community within Guyana.

Among the achievements for the year was the Guyana Business Summit 2017, which was held in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank in October. It focused on the ‘Challenges and Opportunities for Business Growth and Expansion’. This groundbreaking Summit which was a success, saw the PSC bringing together key stakeholders, including the Government and Parliamentary Opposition, in meaningful discussions on opportunities and such critical areas as Energy, Human Capital Development, Markets, Economic Development & Capacity, Taxation, Sourcing Capital and Governance. It is hoped that from the findings and presentations of this Summit, the PSC would engage the Minister of Business and the Minister of Finance in 2018 in moving forward with the recommendations. The Commission’s continuous discussions with governmental agencies are key to success.

While the PSC is comprised of members of the private sector business community across Guyana, the Commission’s role is not limited to business. The Private Sector Commission has worked assiduously throughout the year to provide help and assistance to members of the larger Guyanese community through donations and assistance, where the need exists. Discussions throughout the year with Government Ministers have been fruitful and the PSC is committed to promote national unity, to encourage investment and to create employment for the betterment of Guyanese.

As part of the Commission’s social responsibility, members of the Private Sector Commission through a successful Public-Private Partnership with the Prime Minister, Hon. Moses Nagamootoo and Minister of State, Hon. Joseph Harmon, donated in excess of twenty-five million dollars of food stuff and construction materials to hurricane devastated countries. In addition, the Commission went across the length and breadth of Guyana, from Skeldon to Linden providing advice, hope and tangible donations to suffering areas.

The year 2017 started with the closure of the Wales Estate and ended with massive redundancies from the Skeldon, Rosehall and Enmore estates, leaving at least 5000 unemployed and with serious repercussions for 2018. The Commission stands by its proposal which was previously submitted asking that Government reverses these decisions and rethink a plausible solution that would alleviate the dire economic and social consequences of layoffs and hardships.

As a business related organization, the Commission’s engagements with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Business throughout 2017 were very positive and the PSC looks forward to continuous successful engagements in 2018.The Private Sector Commission understands the importance of Public-Private Dialogue and is elated that the Minister of Business, Hon. Dominic Gaskin, is making great headway to develop such a mechanism. Of significance, the Commission takes this opportunity to congratulate Minister Gaskin and the Inter-American Development Bank for their monumental undertaking, “enhancing the national quality infrastructure for economic diversification and trade promotion” project. The Commission is delighted at these developments which will surely benefit the business community. We are ready to contribute to the National Export and Investment Promotion Strategy and the creation of Special Economic Zones in Guyana.

With regard to the threat from our neighbouring country, Venezuela, the Private Sector Commission stands in support of our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Carl Greenidge, in ensuring that claims to our lands can be refuted. The cooperation between the Private Sector Commission and Ministry of Foreign Affairs during 2017 was fruitful. The Commission thanks the Ministry for their constant communication on trade related opportunities and visits and looks forward to continuing this cooperation with the Ministry in 2018, to establish new markets internationally.

While the PSC agrees that measures published in Budget 2018 will certainly have a positive impact on local businesses, the Commission believes that, in this Budget, that there is more that could have been done to reverse the negative impact of the 2017 Budget. There is need to reexamine the tax policy on goods from zero rating to exempt and standard rated goods and services, the VAT on electricity, the VAT on agricultural and mining machinery and inputs. Withholding disposable income from the economy does not bode well for growth. The Private Sector Commission looks forward to discussions with the Minister of Finance, Hon. Winston Jordan, at quarterly meetings in 2018 where it is hoped that beneficial solutions to the issues can be found.

During the year the Commission welcomed members from the Diplomatic Community including Ambassadors and High Commissioners from high ranking countries such as the ABC Countries, China and India. The Commission is grateful for the trade, technical cooperation and assistance from foreign nations and, in 2018, looks forward to continued dialogue with these and other foreign nations in an effort to pursue greater cooperation and build more trade relationships.

The Private Sector Commission commends the Guyana Police Force for their valiant efforts throughout the year to maintain law and order in Guyana. The PSC has been in constant dialogue with the police force on matters of safety and we is happy with their response. We look forward to continue working with members of police force to ensure that businesses and their clients may work in an environment where there is no fear of being robbed.

The Private Sector Commission thanks all of its stakeholder for their cooperation in 2017 and is determined to build on the successes of 2017 in 2018. The Private Sector Commission wishes all Guyanese a happy New Year and may 2018 bring you Peace, Happiness, Good Health and Prosperity.

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