THE replenishment of Small Business Bureau Grant (SBB) financing of $300,000 is one of several recommendations which were put to the fore when the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI) met with Minister of Finance Winston Jordan this week to make its submission to the National Budget 2019.
According to a release, the GCCI made recommendations under the general thematic areas of agricultural development, security sector development, Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Development; E-Commerce; taxation, duties and charges; oil and gas and measures for improving the financial framework.
A list of the recommendations which was made to the subject minister by the GCCI included the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) on pesticides and the removal of duty and VAT for limestone, the removal of taxes being charged in the tourism and aviation sectors with the intent of promoting tourism (e.g. the removal of VAT on trips to Kaieteur Falls ), the review of taxes on selected private security equipment with a view to reducing the rate, as well as amendment to the policy of VAT on water and electricity, amendment to the policy of VAT on inputs for exports and a review of VAT on agriculture and manufacturing machinery.
The team also recommended the creation of a national committee to craft a master plan for infrastructural development of Guyana in preparation for the oil and gas economy; and bridging the rural-urban divide, and the provision by government of loan guarantees for small businesses via other commercial banks of between 40 to 60 per cent.
The team fielded by the GCCI was spearheaded by president of the chamber Deodat Indar. It included representatives from the business community in areas such as shipping and logistics, construction, tourism, and aviation, along with technical staff with competencies in finance, economics, engineering and project management.
The GGCI said the minister of finance remained receptive to the suggestions and indicated his satisfaction with the document submitted by the body.
The Guyana Chronicle reported recently that the grant fund of the SBB has been exhausted, but programmes, loan facilitation and other technical services are available.
A reliable source from the SBB said the fund was depleted because of the influx of micro, small and medium-scale businesses over the past year.
Grants once limited to G$300,000, were increased up to G$1M through a new system which made it easier for small businesses to be developed in Guyana.
According to the SBB, the fund will not be replenished this year, but they hope to get more money for the grant in the 2019 budget.
Despite the depletion of the fund, there are still business management training programmes and other technical programmes which the SBB offers.