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High cost of doing business keeps investors away

CHAIRMAN of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Norman McLean has lamented that apart from a limited labour force, the high cost of doing business in Guyana also keeps investors away.

“We’re referring here to astronomical energy charges, high Customs fees and long, undue delays to process import and export documents,” McLean said.But he said the Commission is pleased that the new Administration is going to confront these issues in the short term.

Speaking at a Guyana Manufacturing Association (GMSA) media luncheon at the Pegasus Hotel yesterday, the PSC Chairman said the private sector is now more committed than ever to changing the business landscape from reliance on the sale of raw products to promoting new businesses that process rice, fruits and vegetables, meat and milk, wood, bauxite by-products, and the amazing variety of medicinal plants into secondary and tertiary products.

“Our in-country market is small by comparison, so the emphasis has to be placed on sourcing external markets alongside improving procedures at the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA). We in the public and private sectors are all working with a new political dispensation which is readying itself to change the trajectory of Guyana’s economy,” McLean said.

But he noted that while the GSMA pledges unreserved support for the Administration’s national development programmes, it will hold the Government’s feet to the fire.

“We look forward to playing any role we could to enhance the ability of our entrepreneurs to earn more than subsistence level revenue and to eliminate the barriers to external trade which our exporters have been dealing with for many years,” he said.

McLean also used the opportunity to thrash the claim by Venezuela of Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), labelling it “unjust”, “illegitimate”, “barefaced”, and “rank eye-pass.”

Venezuela recently upped the ante to bully Guyana into submission in its claim to the Essequibo and this country’s EEZ.

McLean said the latest attempt by Venezuela to annex Guyana’s EEZ has the potential to create more multilateral difficulties (for them) than they bargained for, since it also threatens the Eastern Caribbean’s and Suriname’s wealth, their peace and security.

He told participants at the luncheon that Guyana, positioned as it is on the Atlantic Coast, gives it a distinct advantage in terms of access to foreign markets.

“We also agree that the pool of vocational and advanced skills in Guyana is small indeed, and that it requires huge inputs from both the Government and the Private Sector to increase the availability of trained skills which would in turn enable Guyana to attract huge foreign investments,” Mclean said.

Courtesy: Guyana Chronicle

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