PEOPLE are probably rehearsing in their minds the national vicissitudes of the year gone by, even as they embark on the challenging task of living up to resolutions made in a moment of angst brought on by contemplations of the impending judgment facing the whole world. Each and every Guyanese, whether young or old, rich or poor; whether a minister of the government or religion, or a merchant, will have reflections on the year immediately past and resolutions for the one ahead.
The situation was no different for members of the private sector here in Guyana; and when this publication caught up with them during what can be considered one of the busiest times of the year, some did not hesitate to share their reminiscences on the past and projections for the future.
According to President of the Georgetown Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Komal Ramnauth, there is much for which to look forward in the new year. Citizens can expect several new initiatives, including the addition of the new Chambers of Commerce building along with the hosting of a business luncheon in February 2012.
“As to other things that can be expected, the Commerce has its Annual General Meeting coming up at the end of March, and we will also be hosting elections for a new president in April,” he explained.
Reflecting on the events and experiences of last year, the GCCI President acknowledged that 2011 was filled with “mixed events”.
President of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), Mr. Clinton Williams, notes that the manufacturing sector recorded minimal growth during the past year, contributing little to the reported 3% overall GDP growth of the economy.
Despite this, the GMSA continued to provide an array of services to the sector, in response to the realization of its Mission: “The provision of Institutional Capacity to initiate, advocate and promote programmes and policies for the development and growth of the Manufacturing and Related Services Sectors, as well as Members’ competitiveness.”
According to Williams, the major initiatives and/or interventions the GMSA undertook for 2011 included trade and investment facilitation, capacity building and institutional strengthening, as well as governance and advocacy initiatives.
Alluding to the way forward in the new year, he disclosed that more focus will be placed on occupational skills development and training.
As to the importance of this, he explained, “Guyana’s economic development and growth is inextricably linked to its productivity and international competitiveness, which in turn is largely dependent on capacity to build and sustain a competent and efficient workforce. GMSA and the private sector as a whole must get more actively involved by first identifying the skills shortages in gold and bauxite mining, ICT, wholesale and retail trade, and the engineering and building construction sectors, where the need is greatest.
“With Guyana on the verge of developing a hydrocarbon sector, we must add to this list the requisite skills for the energy sectors, including hydropower and manganese mining.”
In this regard, he assured that the GMSA staff will be continuously reinventing themselves to meet the challenges that the world economy is presenting.