As Guyana’s economy continues to record dismal performances in various sectors, the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association (GMSA) is calling on Government to put a more realistic system of taxation in place, since what currently obtains threatens the very survival of the manufacturing industry.
The local manufacturing representative body is also calling for an immediate revision of the import taxes applicable to some of its input commodities since the prevailing circumstances threaten the closure of several industries.
This alarm was sounded by the recently elected President of GMSA Eon Caesar as he, on Friday, addressed a business confab hosted by the umbrella body at the Pegasus Hotel.
Among those in attendance for the Business Luncheon was United States Ambassador to Guyana Perry Hollaway, members of the political opposition, inclusive of Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, Irfaan Ali, Gail Teixeira and Bishop Juan Edghill, among others.
Other business entrepreneurs in attendance included Private Sector Commission executive members Eddie Boyer, Ramesh Persaud and Gerry Gouveia, along with others.
The GMSA president, in an impassioned plea, said that in order for the Guyana economy to realise the projected growth rate for 2016 set at 4 per cent, “is up to all of us,” private sector and Government.
According to Caesar, achieving the 4 per cent projected growth rate will require the necessary injection of resources across the various sectors.
He made it clear in no uncertain terms that the taxation issues need to be addressed urgently, since the “survival of the manufacturing industry is at stake.”
Caesar said that the situation has been made even more critical since Guyana’s products are already not competitive on the international market as a result of its high cost of production, particularly as a result of the high cost of electricity.
According to Caesar, a 40 per cent import duty will only serve to cripple the manufacturing sector. This import duty can potentially kill off small industries that have been pioneered by indigenous peoples in addition to established commodities, such as the production of margarine and ketchup locally.
This, he said, is as a result of the skyrocketing cost of production locally.
He lamented too, the imposition of the Common External Tariff (CET) imposed on imports.
GMSA, he said, will continue to ramp up its efforts for a more realistic taxation system to be put in place.
According to Caesar, “this is the harsh reality…we all share a responsibility for moving this nation forward.”
He said that it is with this in mind that the GMSA is looking to play a greater role in the formulation and implantation of policies that will have a direct impact on the manufacturing sector.