The Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) on Wednesday held its Annual General Meeting where concerns were raised over measures implemented for the growth of the manufacturing sector and for appropriate legislation to be put in place to prevent the dumping of inferior and harmful products.
Addressing stakeholders was GMSA President Shyam Nokta, who noted that despite several measures implemented in the 2018 Budget, most of the proposed measures critical to the manufacturing process and the overall growth of the sector were still outstanding.
He added that at the end of June 2017, light manufacturing had marginally grown from 1.3 per cent to 1.9 per cent with a 2.4 per cent projected growth for 2018.
“We are still waiting for full-year statistics from the Bank of Guyana for 2017,” Nokta noted.
He added that key barriers to the manufacturing sector continued to prevail, but explained that they were being addressed through the Ministerial Roundtable engagement with Finance Minister Winston Jordan.
Additionally, Nokta explained that the GMSA advocated for the removal of Valued Added Tax (VAT) on electricity as well as for locally manufactured items to be given a greater share in public procurement.
In addition to the removal of VAT on electricity, Nokta called for reduced tariffs for manufacturing entities based on performance thresholds and incentives for renewable energy technologies.
He also called for the Government to include the GMSA in the booming oil and gas sector, adding that a local content framework was integral to ensuring that local businesses benefit from the opportunities offered by the sector.
Nokta also revealed that in addition to raising the profile of the GMSA, they have been able to spark renewed interest among existing members as well as encourage new members.
He said that at the end of February 2018, the GMSA would have seen its membership growing by 14 per cent.
Giving the feature address at the meeting, State Minister Joseph Harmon said, among other things, that through a collaborative effort, the Government of Guyana and members of the Manufacturing Sector can make economic diversification a reality.
He also urged the members of the body to continue to support the development and implementation of the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS).