In light of President David Granger’s recent statement on reducing concessions to foreign investors in order to create a level playing field for local investors, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has stated that such a move is “anti-investment”.
In a brief statement to the media Friday, the former Guyanese President pointed out that it is absurd that the Head of State would make such a comment especially at a time when the country is currently hosting its premier trading exposition – GuyExpo, a forum conceived and designed to attract investment both locally and overseas.
Jagdeo posited that the move is “most counterproductive and anti-investment”. He said, “The President views the investment regime, which is currently in place intending to attract direct foreign investments, as too generous and promised that his Government will reduce these concessions.”
According to the Opposition Leader, this latest pronouncement joins a long list of anti-private sector measures recently initiated by the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Administration.
He highlighted that prominent among these measures is the political contamination of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA). Jagdeo explained that “sweet-heart” deals are being offered to those who have been identified as making “political investments”, thereby removing a leveled playing field for their competitors.
He also mentioned the fact that policies are being formulated and implemented without any studies and understanding of the technical nature of the issues, for example, the announcement of policies regarding high levels of remission without an appreciation of related incentive regime.
The Leader of the Opposition on Thursday welcomed investors currently in Guyana to participate in the trade fair and encouraged them to make greater investments. He highlighted the importance of private investments, both local and foreign to the Guyanese economy and for job creation.
Jagdeo further assured potential investors that their investments will receive the highest form of legal protection and constitutional guarantee.
During a special edition of this week’s televised programme – The Public Interest, President Granger indicated that he will adjust the amount of concessions offered to foreigners in order to create a level playing field for both foreign and local investors: “We want to ensure that foreigners are not given concessions and waivers and rebates, to which other people are not entitled. In fact, we want to reduce the amount of these concessions so that we become more competitive.”