As Guyana prepares for the benefits from the impending oil and gas industry, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are being urged to be use technology not only to expand their knowledge but to also become more efficient so that they are better prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that would be available when oil production commences.
Governor General of the Bank of Guyana (BOG), Dr Gobind Ganga, addressing a gathering at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Small Business Development Finance Trust Inc. (SBDF) on Wednesday, said that the future is bright for SMEs in Guyana.
However, he asked whether those enterprises are ready to harness the challenges and grasp the opportunities ahead.
To this end, he encouraged the use technology to expand their knowledge of their respective fields.
“In Guyana, many business opportunities abound and these opportunities will increase in the near future. The Small and Medium Enterprises have to position themselves to grasp these opportunities. In looking forward to opportunities, focus must not be lost of the challenges these businesses face. While some may be systematic, some of the challenges can be overcome by knowledge and innovations,” Dr Ganga posited.
Moreover, the Central Bank Head noted that extensive knowledge of production, markets, operations, finance, innovating and so on, will go a long way in ensuring success.
“While some may argue that formal training is needed in some of these areas, I would suggest that knowledge abounds on the internet. Knowledge is empowerment and any topic could be researched on the internet. This freely available knowledge could lead to improved products and services, market strategy, provide links to new markets and allow for improving efficiencies,” he noted.
On the other hand, pointing to government’s initiative to set ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Hubs country wide, one of the Directors at SBDF, Mohamed Ali, also encouraged farmers to take advantage of technology.
“Access the internet and look at market prices what the millers are getting per ton for the rice, see what paddy prices are so you become educated and you can speak armed with knowledge,” he stated.
Ali added too that the use of technology in the agriculture sector can boost efficiency, particularly with rice. “If you go on the net, you will see farmers today are using drone technology… If a farmer has 600 or 300 acres, he need not walk the entire field, he can sit at the back and send the drone up and the drone can show him the status of the conditions of the rice… and even monitor his workers… all of this will also help you to reduce your cost,” the Director asserted.
Despite a decline in the number of loans granted in 2017, the SBDF created a surplus of $28.4 million from revenues of $79.9 million, better than what was earned in 2016.