Developments in Business and infrastructure have direct impact on a country’s economy, as both sectors promote innovation, productivity and economic growth.
Guyana’s potential as a business hub holds significant prospects, given the country’s bright future in the oil and gas sector. Even as Guyana prepares for economic expansion and diversification President David Granger and new Chair of the Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has promoted Guyana among member states as a new frontier for investment in value added production and tourism.
Within the local business arena, the promotion of economic development through commerce is the responsibility of the Ministry of Business. The Ministry is primarily responsible for the development of a more conducive environment for local businesses, as well as foreign direct investment. The Ministry of Business received over $1.7 Billion allocation in Budget 2017 for the promotion of economic growth.
During the Budget Debates, Minister of Business, Mr. Dominic Gaskin, said that the allocation is aimed at achieving the Ministry’s vision of improving the living standards for all Guyanese in a diverse and green economy.
He added that through collaboration with the World Bank, a report has been created to address directly the indicators where Guyana can improve in the business sector. The findings of the report has made it imperative for the Ministry to, over the next few years, seek to correct the deficiencies that placed the country at a disadvantage in
attracting investors and that affected business operations in Guyana. “In 2017, the Ministry will provide support for and facilitate the execution of critical reforms in areas identified in the various reports and assessments in order to significantly improve the ease of doing business in Guyana,” he said.
Government believes that small businesses hold significant potential for job creation and national income generation. However these businesses continue to face many constraints to growth and development. In this regard, much focus will be placed on the provision of more formal opportunities to intensify capacity building within the small business through
implementation of the Small Business Procurement Programme this year through a collaborative effort of the Small Business Bureau (SBB) and the National Procurement and Tender Administrative Board.
This year, the Minister said that the Bureau will continue to work with
small businesses to build capacity and prepare them for access to the programme. The SBB will also partner with other entities to offer business integration services to provide targeted support to small businesses with high growth potential by ensuring that they can access equipment as well as support services required to propel their development. Such facilities will allow for enhanced.
Work will also continue through the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) to promote and facilitate local and foreign investment, while also promoting the exportation of local goods.
With youth unemployment as a major concern for Government, Minister Gaskin said that his Ministry will pursue the expansion of private enterprise in order to increase employment opportunities for young Guyanese. The SBB will also be scaling up these activities in 2017 and will actively promote youth entrepreneurship as a means of channelling innovation towards economic activity. “Enhanced outreach activities in every region will be carried out.
These will be done through individual agencies and will be an initiative of the Small Business Bureau as well as through collaborative efforts with other public sectors agencies,” he said.
One hundred Students from Educational institutions are expected to benefit from entrepreneurial initiatives. Ten Students will also be awarded grants towards the implementation of the ventures outlined in their business proposal through training they
would receive. Other points of focus within the Business sector include the improvement of the Sophia Exhibition Centre for the hosting of Guyana’s premier business exposition – GuyExpo and continuing to raise the standard of business operations through the National Bureau of Standards. These and other initiatives, the Minister said, will all contribute to the expectation of improved growth for this year as the Government continues to strive for the good life for all Guyanese.
While development of the business sector promotes innovation, diversification and economic expansion, infrastructural development is vital to vital to economic developments as it provides access between means of production and markets, encourages productivity, and serves to ensure the reduction in production costs, thereby making firms more competitive and boosting the economy. President David Granger has said infrastructural development is the key to unlocking the vast potential of Guyana’s Hinterland and linking it with the Coast Land. Further, infrastructural development has to be done in the context of Guyana’s ‘green’ agenda.
The Ministry of Public Infrastructure has been working to transform the country and with a budgetary provision of $34.556 billion; over 13 percent of the total Budget, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Mr. David Patterson has assured that the Ministry is well on its way to achieving its overall goals for contributing to the development of Guyana.
Delivering his presentation during the Budget Debates, Minister Patterson outlined several high level transformative projects that are to be conducted with the generous allocations.
Among these include the focus on the advancement of Government’s Green Agenda through the work of the Guyana Power and Light Limited. Minister Patterson said that the utility company is a major stakeholder in the achievement of the vision of Guyana’s ‘green’ economy. Initiatives include the commencement of preparatory steps for the introduction of renewable energy from intermittent and non-intermittent sources including wind, solar, biomass and hydropower.
The Government believes that an energy mix from such sources is the best option in order to decentralise the provision of renewable energy to various parts of Guyana and this is in keeping with the country’s commitment to increasing its renewable energy use to 100 percent by 2025.
With the need to ensure proper road and bridge networks and ensure sea and river defense, expansion works included on the Ministry’s agenda will take place on the East Coast and East Bank Demerara Highways, sea defences, the development of major roads, bridges and other projects. With increased road traffic, the need for the expansion of the two major highways has become an imperative over the years. Works for the expansion of the East Bank Demerara four lane project funded by the International Development Bank started in 2011 and were completed in September 2016 under this administration at a total cost of US$17.7 million, but the Minister said that more work in this area is planned for the year 2017, while advancements have been made in the agreement for the East Coast Demerara Expansion Project.
Countrywide, the development of roads has also been a noticeable ongoing endeavour of the Ministry, with the construction and rehabilitation of urban roads being completed in Regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10 under the Miscellaneous and Urban Roads Programme. The Minister said that in comparison to last year, budgetary allocations for these two programmes have increased in every region for the year 2017. Moreover, the linking of the hinterland to the coastal area, a commitment that was outlined in this government’s campaign 2015 Manifesto, is a project which has come to realisation since government took office.
More than just the development of infrastructure, however, the Ministry is also involved with helping to contribute to the overall beautification of the country and several projects under its forte reflect this goal. One such project includes the beautification of the waterfront areas between Kingston and Ogle and Stabroek Market and Vreed-en-Hoop. Government proposes to complete these projects through partnership with the United Kingdom’s Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (DFID). The projects will be overseen by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and formal agreements were finalised for these projects in December. The year 2017 holds many prospects for the achievement of President Granger’s vision of building a green economy through as these Ministries continue in their mandate to contribute to the Good Life for all Guyanese.