Political uncertainty has led to steep decline in business – GCCI

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The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) said it has conducted a study following the passage of the December 21, 2018 no-confidence motion and has found that the looming political uncertainty has caused some 64 per cent of businesses to register some sort of decline.

The Chamber on Monday said it was concerned about the effect of the impact of the associated uncertainty on the business community, adding that it was that level of uncertainty which prompted the survey, to gauge the effect of the political environment on business performance.

“From the results, 64 per cent of respondents (or about two in every three businesses) experienced some form of decline due to uncertainty over the state of political affairs in Guyana. For those businesses which registered a decline in activity, approximately 85 per cent experienced a 25 to 50 per cent drop in the level of commercial activity. The remaining 15 per cent experienced 75 to 100 per cent decline in business,” the GCCI said.

The Private Sector body noted that the significant decline in commercial activity was worrying to itself and its membership. According to the Chamber, the continued state of political uncertainty can result in further decline in economic activity.

“From a national development perspective, the climate of uncertainty does not bode well for investors’ confidence, both local and foreign, as well as business planning, budgeting, and other key features of business management and administration. The Chamber remains hopeful that an environment which encourages investment prevails,” the statement revealed.

GCCI’s membership numbers over 240 business organisations from micro to enterprise level, located throughout the country and in the Caricom Region. The Chamber emphasised the need for national leaders to expediently resolve political issues that exist in order to restore and boost investors’ confidence, which would result in Guyana’s economy growing comfortably.

The passage of the December 21, 2018 no-confidence motion saw the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government being toppled. The motion was moved by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and carried in a 33-32 vote, with AFC MP Charrandas Persaud defecting in a vote of conscience in favour of the motion.

It has been over 65 days since the resolution was carried and no move has been made by the Government to have elections held within the constitutionally mandated 90 days.

Additionally, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has since indicated that it will require at least five months to prepare. This move has been condemned by many, with observers accusing GECOM of ignoring its constitutional mandate to buy time for the Government.

On Saturday, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan admitted that Guyana would enter into a period of constitutional crisis if come March 19, the constitutionally-mandated Regional and General Elections are not held.

“Well then, you will certainly have what is internationally regarded as a constitutional crisis and I must admit that for the purposes of this dialogue that we are going to presume that the 90 days have passed and we still do not have the two-third majority in Parliament, we are going to enter some uncharted waters,” Ramjattan admitted.

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