Gov’t ready to listen, adopt changes for prosperity of manufacturing sector – President Ali

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has reiterated the PPP/C Government’s readiness to listen and adopt the changes that will lead to the success of businesses operating in the manufacturing sector.

The President announced this in his keynote address to the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association’s (GMSA) 25th annual presentation and award ceremony, held at the Princess Hotel, Friday evening.

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali

Against the event’s theme of “Changing the paradigm for advancing sustainable industry transformation and growth”, President Ali highlighted that members must conduct a “frank and honest evaluation” on where the gaps in the sector are, how those gaps can be addressed and how businesses can position themselves to identify strategic partners to do business with.

“What is our outlook for the manufacturing sector? We are a government that is ready to listen, learn and adopt the changes required to help you succeed. We have to develop a winning culture,” Dr. Ali charged.

Since taking office, the President Ali-led Government has made significant progress in ensuring that citizens and businesses are cushioned from the blows of the pandemic. For the manufacturing sector, the Government removed Value Added Tax (VAT) and duties on machinery and equipment. Despite the pandemic’s woes and as fruit of the Government’s intervention, the services sector grew by 9.4 per cent while the manufacturing sector grew by an impressive 13 per cent. This was reflected in the 2021 mid-year report prepared by the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

Meanwhile, the Head of State emphasised that businesses in the manufacturing and services sector must rally together, so that they may tackle obstacles and seize opportunities that will inevitablyy present themselves.

“Do we see ourselves as competitors or as members of the manufacturing industry? If we want to win, we have to come together to build the capacity of the industry. Fit yourself into corporations. If 10 small businesses can come tougher and take away 30 per cent of the market, there is better advantage. You all need to come together and change the direction; change the post. If you are satisfied with small share, you will miss out on opportunities,” the President encouraged.

Removing the barriers of doing business and trade is something that the Government has prioritised, the President reminded, as he highlighted that his administration has secured a new forefront with Barbados. This revitalised relation sees the removal of what were longstanding inhibitors of trade between the two countries. But this barrier removal stands not only between Guyana and Barbados, Dr. Ali noted, and pointed out the necessity of removing all blockades identified amongst all other members in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

The President went on to indicate that one of the centerpieces of manufacturing is market. To this end, he said that a strategic analysis would show that the best and easiest market to capitalise on is CARICOM’s.

“The CARICOM market will sustain our market for the first few years. The opportunities are there, we just need to grab them… Tons of investors are coming to Guyana and the focus will be heavily on food production. We from the Government, are going to invest in creating the right environment for strategic investment, training, development, and building the infrastructure.”

Key to Guyana’s manufacturing sector is reliable, cheap and clean energy. The Government has recognised this and has made significant steps in pursuing the US$900 million gas-to-energy project in partnership with ExxonMobil. Hydro, solar and wind are also on the cards for development and with this energy mix, Guyana could see an additional 500Mw added to the grid by 2024.