President urges Private Sector to be “bold” against CARICOM

President Dr Irfaan Ali
President Dr Irfaan Ali

President Dr Irfaan Ali, says the private sector needs to act boldly so that Guyanese products could enter the CARICOM free market.

President Ali made the remark while delivering the feature address at the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association’s (GM&SA) 25th annual presentation of awards ceremony on Wednesday evening.

“Engagement with CARICOM must be bold. It is time we break down the barriers to trade. It is time we take our place and while we have the capacity and we will invest in food security, private sector needs to push hard on all the barriers that prevent our goods and services from entering a free market, an open market, a unified market in CARICOM.”

The President reminded the gathering that it was not a duty of the government alone. “The private sector and the manufacturing association must see themselves as playing an integral part, not a complaining part. It is for this reason that we are involving the private sector in every aspect of development.”

The Head of State said Government’s plan to boost manufacturing and services is based on five foundational areas. These are higher levels of sustained economic growth; modernisation of the primary sectors – agriculture, fisheries, mining, and forestry; the installation of transformational infrastructure; the rebalancing of the economy to boost value added production and improving efficiency and encouraging innovation and ensuring greater competitiveness.

“Above all of this will be our ability to service the needs of the new economy, will be our ability to have the right mix of human resources, human potential to fuel the growth and development that will take place. It is for this reason that we are realigning the educational output with economic requirement. And you will see the unfolding of 20,000 scholarships to ensure we build the capacity to take the opportunities that we coming our way,” President Ali stated.

Meanwhile, he noted that the gas to shore initiative was more than just about providing cheaper energy.

“The goal is to make energy our main competitive advantage in manufacturing and services added with our human resource capacity, we can be unbeatable. We have to be bold in thinking, we have to be innovative. Do not doubt our ability to win, do not doubt our ability to be ahead of the competition.”

Guyana’s economy is expected to have sustained growth over the next 10 years with oil and gas contributing to most of the growth. However, the President said his Government is realigning the economy to ensure that growth is spread across all sectors.