–President Ali highlights; says massive legislative, regulatory changes coming to further strengthen the economy
PRESIDENT Dr. Irfaan Ali on Tuesday evening celebrated the billions of dollars of investments being made by stakeholders in the service and manufacturing sectors, even as he highlighted that more work needs to be done to build an economy that is functional come 2030 and beyond.
The Head of State made those remarks during his feature address at the Guyana Manufacturing Services Association (GMSA)’s annual award ceremony and dinner, which was held at the Ramada Princess Hotel at Providence, East Bank Demerara.
The President, while stating that the country is in a race against time to build a sustainable and competitive economy, the significant investments being made by local and foreign companies must be celebrated.
Listing some of the significant investments by companies and representatives that were present, Dr. Ali said that the $8 billion investment in the last two years with more planned by the Banks DIH company is something that should be celebrated.
Further investments include the US$30 million expansion by Sterling, US$50 million planned expansion and product diversification for Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), among others.
Addressing the telecommunications sector, Dr. Ali highlighted the $60 million investment by GTT in two years, along with the targetted $100 million investment by 2025.
This, he said, could be linked to the liberalisation of the sector, which drives competitiveness, and motivates stakeholders to innovate in order to attract more customers.
The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), President Ali said, has advised him that their investment over the last two years totalled some $612 million, while their planned investment going on to 2025-2027 is set at some $615 million.
Some others he highlighted were the Barama Company Limited with their investments of more than US$5 million, GYSBI with US$270 million and NRG with US$300 million, among other companies that are a part of the service and manufacturing sector.
“This is the type of investment taking place by investors; local investors right here in this room,” President Ali said.
The Head of State went on to say that Guyana is in a race to beat time, since the country is not moving fast enough because of various constraints.
He said: “We are in a race to beat time in Guyana, but we are also in a race to beat time, on time.”
RACING AGAINST TIME
Dr. Ali said that while the country is in a race to beat the time, it must be done in a sustainable way that allows Guyana to get ahead of the response time in a safe way.
He indicated that while some businesses are capitalising on the opportunities that are here today, these will not exist in 2030 and beyond in a new economy.
Against this backdrop, the President said that an economy that is functional for 2030 and beyond must be designed and built. With that, he further noted that that is what the next eight years is about.
He said: “Laying the foundation; laying the framework for an economy that is functional, competitive and leading 2030 and beyond, and I assure you, this country, this economy will be one such in the world.”
Speaking directly to the private sector, Dr. Ali said that what is needed now in the country is finding the right match, and this requires businesses to think outside of the box.
He added that the business and governance models must be improved to facilitate the growth of businesses and the economy at large.
To this end, Dr. Ali said that the government is spending a lot of time and effort on transforming the way governance is delivered through institutions and laws.
He further said that with this in mind, there are massive changes coming in the legislative and regulatory systems.
Dr. Ali related: “I am not prepared, as President, to go forward in 2023 without having a single window construction, permit and licence system removing the barriers.”
With that, he noted that this move is not only about reshaping and remodelling the private sector, but that it’s also being done by Central Government to foster growth and transform Guyana’s economy.
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh had said in a previous report that the government strongly, unshakably, unflinchingly and unapologetically believes in the role of the private sector in the future of Guyana, and is committed to ensuring a rapidly growing and a highly competitive, world-class, diversified economy in Guyana.
Minister Singh had said that the government sees the private sector as a highly valued and cherished partner in national development, and with renewed and increased interest in the local economy, Guyana has an opportunity to assess its systems and create processes which are business-friendly and encouraging for not just international investors, but locals as well.
The government has already committed to building a “modern” Guyana with world-class infrastructure that improves connectivity and unlocks the vast potential of the economy.
Its intention is to create an enabling environment for business development through a seven-point plan, which includes preserving the Rule of Law and democracy; improving the ease of doing business; enhancing national competitiveness; facilitating trade and investment; and supporting small businesses.