[www.inewsguyana.com] – Accountability, integrity and transparency will the guiding ethos of the newly created Ministry of Business and Investment, whose mantra will be ‘Guyana means business’, Minister Dominic Gaskin told the National Assembly on Friday during his inaugural address.
Minister Gaskin listed several priorities for his Ministry over the next years, including: improved facilitation largely by removing obstacles placed on businesses by government; support for improved competition mainly to businesses to help them grow and become internationally competitive; entrepreneurial development focusing on innovation and technology at the small and micro- enterprise level; actively promoting Guyana as a good place to do business and preparing small businesses to access the public procurement pipeline.
The Business Minister said President David Granger’s recognition that charitable handouts and trickledown economics are not the answer for pauperisation and privation, along with his emphasis on tackling youth unemployment, has given strong and early direction for policy formation of his ministry.
He said micro-enterprise promotion as a means of establishing economic independence for youths has also been recognised and cited the recent Caribbean Development Bank’s study that estimates youth unemployment at 40 % which indicates an urgent need to address this problem.
“A well administered programme for developing small and micro enterprises can see a new culture of entrepreneurship among our youth population and provide a new generation of business role models,” he said.
Minister Gaskin said that the consolidation of a number of departments and agencies into a single Ministry of Business has resulted in an effective, dedicated organisation committed to the growth of business and investment sectors. This is needed if the war is to be waged against the four real enemies of the Guyanese people, “crime, disease, ignorance and poverty”.
The ministry will be facilitating the expansion of a multi-layered private sector, the minister explained, “That can provide opportunities for advancement to all Guyanese and generate the increased revenues required for improving and expanding government’s programmes for achieving a better life for Guyanese”.
The ministry’s five -year strategic plan will lend itself to this realisation and it will be completed before the government’s first 100 days in office, Minister Gaskin promised.
The ministry will be promoting the idea of, “One Nation” to the business sector as adumbrated by the president, “By emphasising the principles of inclusiveness, fairness and equality within its five – year plan,” the minister said.
The immediate priority of the ministry will be to develop its own capacity to deliver its long-term objectives, and this includes examining projects done under the previous administration such as Support for Competitiveness Programme, as well as exploring new initiatives to strengthen operations, he stated.
The ministry will also move to facilitate more engagements with the private sector, constantly upgrading the legal framework guiding local business. The ministry will be reviewing its organisational structure to effectively carry out its functions he stated. Its five divisions are: the Commerce Division, the Industrial Development Division, the Small Business Bureau, the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) and Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest).The National Exhibition Center will also be incorporated in the ministry’s implementation programme. [Extracted and modified from GINA]