Gov’t committed to increasing value-added production
– Minister Bharrat at launch of Floor It’s Queenstown showroom
Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Vickram Bharrat says the PPP/C Government is resolute in its commitment to supporting the nation’s traditional, productive sectors even as it continues to strengthen its relationship with the private sector.
Minister Bharrat was at the time speaking at the official opening of wood products supplier Floor It’s new showroom in Queenstown.
“We have seen many countries in the world because of oil and gas, they have neglected the other traditional sectors like forestry, mining and agriculture and we have seen over the last five years, that is where Guyana was. That is why you find now that most of our productive sectors are not producing as they should. We are basically repairing most of these sectors,” he said.
Minister Bharrat commended Floor It’s CEO Mr. Andre Cummings for the company’s latest move. He said it is a welcomed answer to the Government’s call for businesses to expand their goods and services to add value to Guyana’s forest products.
“This is something that our country is badly in need of especially in the state we found the Forestry Commission in when we took over Government in August 2020. Sometimes it sounds like a song to the ears, but the fact is the Forestry Commission was bankrupt.”
The Minister said while Guyana produces logs, the production rate for logging is about 30 to 35 per cent. Guyana is allowed to cut almost one million cubic feet per year, but only 300,000 cubic feet were harvested in 2020.
“We need to move in a direction where we increase our production as a country and the sector. So, the Ministry of Natural Resources will take a number of initiatives to increase production and to encourage more people like Mr. Cummings, to add value to our products to build that Guyana brand we’re so desirous of having.”
Hon. Oneidge Walrond, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce and Hon. Susan Rodrigues, Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water also attended the opening.
Minister Walrond said the launch exemplifies the Government’s vision for small business development.
President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, on several occasions, has said his Government would work non-stop to support small businesses in Guyana. To this end, some $250 million has been proposed in the 2021 Budget for the Small Business Development Fund.
Another allocation of $25 million is budgeted for the Green Tech Fund, which would also aid small businesses nationwide.
“These initiatives are not Government simply putting money into the coffers of businesses or giving away money. Every grant or every loan guarantee provided, the Government is signalling a very tangible way that we are investing in the growth and development of small businesses.
The Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, through the Small Business Bureau, continues to provide support to the small and micro enterprises through our grants and loan guarantee programmes,” Minister Walrond said.
Meanwhile, Minister Rodrigues has said Guyana is now on the road to recovery after a challenging five years.
With the PPP/C Government, she said, “It’s very clear that there is a huge transformation that is about to take place in our country. Our Government has been very clear that in order for us to see this transformation, we will ensure that there are the necessary policies and programmes that will see Guyanese benefitting.”
Mr. Shyam Nokta, President of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association said he is proud of the bold step Mr. Cummings has taken, which has showcased the true potential of the forestry and wood sector.
In response, Mr. Cummings said he is passionate about working to ensure that Guyana’s local labels become a “signature of excellence.” He said with the advances in the petroleum sector, and the expected growth, there is much to be done for Guyana’s future. Floor It was established in 2014 to provide high quality, classic and modern-styled finishes for both residential and commercial clients.