President to announce sweeping incentives for private sector

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President Irfaan Ali is set to announce soon, sweeping incentives that will be injected to boost the operations of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), as Government looks to strengthen ties with the body which he praised for its role in returning democracy to Guyana.

The President made this disclosure on Monday when the PSC held its 28th Annual General Meeting (AGM) via Zoom video conference.

The meeting was attended by members of the diplomatic community, members of the business community and PSC’s immediate past President Captain Gerry Gouveia, who has since been appointed Advisor on National Security to the President.

President Ali said the Government will be announcing a set of incentives for local investment in health, education, environmental services, manufacturing, tourism, processing, livestock, agriculture, technology, financial services and infrastructure. Further, the President asserted that his Government intends to facilitate a more robust Private Sector – one that brings new investment, expands production, increases exports and improves competitiveness and innovation.

On this aspect, President Ali stated that Guyana has talked forever about improving its competitiveness, but there is a one to two-year waiting period on construction and development permits and approval for business plans. He was keen to point out that such issues are frustrating investors coming to Guyana. He added that this is among the many areas Government will work closely with the Private Sector to fix.

“…This requires a strong approach. An approach that would create a single window for building permits and approval that will require legislative change, that will require institutional change. So, this is one of the things we have to address in terms of improving our competitiveness. We have to look at reducing the time for construction permits to at least three months. We are hoping that the Private Sector Commission can work with the Government in outlining a clearly defined strategy as it relates to the competitiveness programme for Guyana.”

He added, too, that Government will work with the PSC to come up with measurable goals to address these issues. “We cannot do this alone. We need the Private Sector to work with us on this.” Turning his attention to the country’s export market, the President said: “We have some issues with the export of our fish to the [United States]. We have to work with the US and the PSC in resolving this. We have to identify the issues and resolve the issues so that we can get back those markets.”

Additionally, President Ali said Guyana needs to foster better relations with the PSC of Trinidad and Tobago, which has a presence in Guyana.

“We have the Private Sector from Trinidad and Tobago operating in Guyana now and we are not making use of that presence. Our Private Sector needs to let the Private Sector from Trinidad and Tobago understand that we have had difficulties especially with our agricultural programmes and they need to be the champion of change in that market for us…,” he told those gathered for the virtual meeting.

Very shortly, the President said, he is going to outline a definitive and very clear development trajectory of the PPP/C government for the next five years. He, however, cautioned that the PSC cannot operate in a vacuum.

On that note, he stated, “We cannot have the local Private Sector operating in a vacuum. You cannot plan your future developments if you do not know where gas would land. You cannot plan your future if you do not know where is the new agriculture frontier. You cannot plan your future development if you do not know what are the new goals the Government is envisioning…”