Continued efforts from Private Sector led to Guyana’s economic growth- GMSA President

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GMSA President Shyam Nokta

The growth of Guyana’s economy which was presented as part of the 2018 mid-year report is as a result of continuous support from private stakeholders with an interest in the country’s propulsion.

This was the sentiment of President of the Guyana Marketing and Services Association (GMSA), Shyam Nokta, during the Association’s annual award ceremony on Thursday.

He expressed that members of the organisation would have played a key role in this progress.

“Guyana’s economy grew by 4.5 per cent during the first half of 2018, compared to 2.5 per cent for the corresponding period in 2017. This growth was led by continued efforts from the Private Sector, including our members.”

The report signalled an increase of 18.1 per cent in the forestry sector, 13.4 per cent in construction and an 8.2 per cent in the services sector, while the manufacturing sector contracted during the first six months by 2.4 per cent when compared to 9.9 per cent during that period. According to Nokta, this decline was due to the reduced production of sugar and rice.

“This was primarily due to declines in the production of sugar and rice. Overall, the downward trend for the last few years in almost all the major productive sectors continued in 2018. Our members want to play our part in reversing these negative trends, but as we have said on many occasions, we need to be enabled to advance Guyana’s growth through a supportive environment.”

Some of the challenges faced in the manufacturing industry is the cost and stability of energy along with taxation on electricity.

“The high cost coupled with issues of stability and reliability has pushed many manufacturers off the grid and to self-generate. Tax measures introduced in Budget 2017 such as [Value Added Tax] VAT on electricity further compounded this issue and continues to affect manufacturers in 2018,” said the GMSA President.

He noted that adjustments to the tax regime in 2018 led to some establishments being unable to reclaim Value Added Tax (VAT) on inputs for exported items. Infrastructure and access to remote areas also add to the list of challenges.

“This is serving as a disincentive to not only manufacturing but exports. The extended rainy season coupled with lack of maintenance, rendered many key roads to the interior virtually impassable. This led to severe challenges in getting goods to hinterland locations overland and also affected the forestry and mining sectors in a major way.”

For the 2019 Budget, it was indicated that 50 measures were submitted to Finance Minister Winston Jordan in areas pertaining to stakeholders in the manufacturing industry.

“In our presentation to the Minister of Finance for Budget 2019, the GMSA put forward a menu of measures – 50 measures in fact, covering broad areas such as taxation, access to finance, public procurement, energy, standards and regulations among others. Sector specific measures were also proposed covering forestry and wood products, agro-processing, construction and engineering and the services sector.”

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