New Business Minister promises to increase local manufacturing, local consumption

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The newly appointed Minister of Business, Haimraj Rajkumar, has disclosed that his list of priorities includes boosting Guyana’s manufacturing sector as well as increasing the local consumption rate.

Rajkumar, an Alliance For Change (AFC) parliamentarian, made this disclosure at his party’s press conference on Friday (May 3, 2019), where he noted that even as he intends to follow existing policies within the Business Ministry, he also desires to execute the plan of enhancing the manufacturing sector.

“There are several policies in the Ministry at this time that I would continue with, but my vision, one of the things I want which I hope that I [will] be able to execute before my time is up, is to increase local manufacturing, increase local consumption of things that we produce.”

According to the Business Minister, this plan has stemmed from the tendency of most persons not purchasing locally produced products but rather those that are imported. On this note, he urged local manufacturers to produce high-quality products as this is one important rule to be considered when seeking local sales.

“It tends to be, we have a culture of not wanting to consume things produced in our country, it’s been a long legacy and I would like to encourage our manufacturers, our entrepreneurs to manufacture things of high quality, so that our Guyanese consumers can have an amount of pride in purchasing and consuming our products,” Rajkumar explained.

However, the minister, in response to a question directing that agriculture is cheaper than manufacturing items, expressed that the cost of manufacturing in Guyana is indeed quite expensive due to the high electricity rates.

“The cost of manufacturing in Guyana is expensive, we can’t doubt that because one of the factors is the high cost of electricity.”

Rajkumar noted that holistically, the business sector plays a vital role in today’s society since the Private Sector generates more than half of the country’s revenue, with specific agencies contributing to direct business development.

“Business plays an inaugural part in the development of any society, the Private Sector involvement is actually about 75 per cent of generating revenue and spinoffs. Our Ministry of Business there are five agencies, more particular so the Small Business Bureau and GO-Invest, those are to my mind, agencies which may contribute more to direct development” he stated.

Rajkumar, who hails from Essequibo, replaced Dominic Gaskin, who was forced to resign due to his dual citizenship status, which bars him from being a Member of Parliament and a Government Minister.

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