At a recent site visit to the Industrial Estate in Lethem, South Rupununi, Region Nine, Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin expressed satisfaction with the works being conducted. Roads, culverts, and drainage works are currently being carried out at the site.
There had been a decline in the pace of works being conducted by the contractors, a few months ago. However, following the tour of the site by the consulting engineer, Minister Gaskin reported that the issue has been ironed out and works were almost on original schedule.
According to Minister Gaskin, the world-class industrial site built on the outskirts of Lethem will be a source of employment for the community and also a business incubator with immediate impact for the region.
Through this ‘incubator’, Gaskin explained that operators of small businesses will be provided a temporary space that they can occupy. “An incubator needs to incubate (develop) and then you move on and other persons come in and have a chance at inclusivity and also keeps its objective which is not to keep a business at one level but to propel it into higher category of businesses”.
The Minister revealed that the plan is to create an industrial hub for the entire Region Nine and take advantage of that particular area and the huge market to the South which allows for favourable access to a number of products in Guyana. This, he explained, will make an attractive investment prospect for both local and Brazilian investors especially in the agro sector.
According to the Department of Public Information, Gaskin further added that the government is looking to tie agriculture with the processing of products and other support services to an export strategy which is being developed.
The Industrial Estate was scheduled to be completed this year but had to be reviewed because work appeared to have been done haphazardly. Also, the estate did not initially cater for small businesses.
The Ministry of Business has responsibility for industrial estates at Lethem, Belvedere, Eccles, and Coldingen. The latter two have a combined total of 120 developed plots which houses close to 60 developed estates providing jobs for about 4,000 Guyanese. The main industries are wood-processing, cement and block-making, food processing, fish processing, furniture manufacturing, metal fabrication and pharmaceuticals.
In the 2016 Budget, $212M was allocated for the development and repair of the industrial estates at Belvedere and Lethem.