Georgetown, GINA, October 3, 2013
President Donald Ramotar continues to argue the case for public support to the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) that will bring much needed cheap energy to the country and support improved operations of Guyana’s processing and manufacturing sectors.
As he addressed a Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) 50th anniversary dinner last evening, he criticized the political opposition for withholding legislative support to the project and those that constantly level accusations against public sector professionals.
“The attack on people like Brassington, Sharma and now the Clerk of the National Assembly, I don’t think that those things would do any good for our country. We need to create an atmosphere where people will do their work, where people will not be afraid to serve in their country,” President Ramotar said.
The unjustifiable rejection of key pieces of legislation that would have cleared the way for construction works on the AFHP, resulted in a reputable international developer and partner Sithe Global walking away and a further setback in the realization of cheap energy.
Without the right support infrastructure, President Ramotar said he doubts the manufacturing sector in particular, can reach its full potential.
“We have seen as a fact, as a percentage of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) it (manufacturing sector) has not grown. In fact it has fallen in some ways,” President Ramotar said while delivering remarks in the Grand Savannah Suite at Pegasus.
Copies of the GMSA’s 50th anniversary souvenir magazine were presented last evening outlining the association’s future goals.
Among them is training of small agro-processors in the Essequibo region about internationally qualified standards in handling, labelling and packaging of coconut, and fruit juices.
The initiative will be spearheaded in partnership with Sterling Products and supported by the Canadian International Development Association (CIDA) through its implementation branches.
As the banking sector makes transactions for loans and interest rates more reasonable for borrowers, President Ramotar advised the GMSA to build a good relationship with banks to pursue bigger investments.
Last evening’s dinner came on the eve of a GuyExpo 2013 Business Forum held at the Guyana International Conference Centre that sought to provide relevant information on current trade issues and foster the establishment of business partnerships with foreign enterprises.
Present were representatives of foreign businesses and business support organizations in the Caribbean region and further afield which are expected to showcase their products and services at tomorrow’s exposition.
They are drawn from the Caribbean, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Suriname & other South American countries, China and India.
The forum featured presentations on new FDA US Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA) and its impact on Guyanese exporters of food products to the US, potential business opportunities in Northern Brazil in manufacturing services, sustainable energy in Guyana, the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) services in the Caribbean and doing business with China.
GMSA President Clinton Williams said manufacturers have been enjoying the public/private partnership for years and that entrepreneurs have grown to a level where they are now considered landmarks of the manufacturing landscape.
Last year manufacturing output grew by 2.4 percent, with some products such as beverages recording increased output, while value-added output in the services sector increased significantly, with many industries achieving positive growth, Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh had reported earlier this year.
The growth has been reflected in wholesale and retail trade which 6.7 percent, Information and Communication by 4.2 percent, electricity and water output by 5.7 percent, transport and storage by 18.9 percent, finance and insurance by 13.8 percent, rental of dwellings by 4.5 percent and other services by four percent.
It was also reported that the manufacturing sector is projected to record a stronger growth performance of 4.4 percent this year.
At the dinner Presidents and members of the GMSA, who helped to shape the landscape of manufacturing in Guyana, were given special honours. GMSA is the successor to Guyana Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Guyana Light Industries Society.