Lethem Industrial Estate for May completion – prospectus available
─ will increase and enhance economic cooperation between Guyana and Brazil
─ SBB will very soon host a packaging and labelling workshop with Guyana Marketing Corporation
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, March 14, 2019
Prospective investors and members of the media got a first-hand view, on Thursday, of the Lethem Industrial Estate and learnt of its planned use and opportunities it presents.
According to Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, the media tour was organised because the facility is close to completion and the ministry wants to be transparent with information which relates to the application process, through which persons can acquire rights to use the facility, will begin shortly.
“We thought it was very important for the media to be here and for us to share with you, in a very transparent manner, our prospectus, our investor guidelines, our application process, so that everyone could understand what that process is, what our expectations are and there will be no ‘finding out after the fact’ about what the investment guidelines, process what the application process is, what the various associated costs are. We wanted to be upfront with that information before we even start to accept applications,” Minister Gaskin explained.
Further, the Minister of Business said the project is of great import not only to Region 9 but the whole of Guyana.
“We believe that this estate, along with the other developments such as the road from Lethem leading to the Atlantic Coast, other projects in renewable energy will go a long way toward the economic development of this region but will also increase and enhance economic cooperation between Guyana and Brazil,” he explained.
The Business Minister opined that the residents of Lethem and surrounding communities will be the main beneficiaries of the development in terms of employment opportunities and other related spinoff benefits once the estate is operationalised. He said the application process will begin very soon and by the end of the first quarter of this year, approval would be given provided applications are received.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Small Business Bureau (SBB), Dr. Lowell Porter emphasised the importance of the government’s involvement in the establishment of the Lethem Industrial Estate.
“In any country, the goal is always to establish a way by which citizens can have a better life and in order to do that there must be some form of facilitation… this is going to be a pilot project. It is new for Guyana to have a business incubator and we are also thinking to use part of the facility for packaging and labelling and we believe with that established smaller businesses will be able to have a product that looks good. We will help them to grow and maybe from here get one of the other lots and expand their business,” Porter explained.
Dr. Porter also said the Small Business Bureau (SBB) is in conversation with SOBREI and will very soon host a packaging and labelling workshop with the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) to have a feel of more of what is needed and to establish among clients that the agency is there to support them.
Meanwhile, Head of GO-Invest, Owen Verwey said he is happy for the establishment of the industrial estate since its completion will mean economic development and job creation, not only for the region but the entire country. He said the estate will also attract formalised industrial development activities.
“It is one of the pilot areas for the ministry of business and one which Go-Invest will be actively responsible for in terms of processing the applications and assisting in the allocation and managing the estate,” Verwey said.
In addition, Verwey said he was pleased to see the involvement of business persons from neighbouring Brazil.
“It is good to see some of our Brazilian counterparts here today. I know some of them are interested in investing in Guyana and some are interested in land in this same estate. Guyanese producers especially those in the poultry industry have already received some input from their Brazilian counterparts and it transits this part to get to Georgetown so this will assist in improving and adding value from the Guyana end to whatever is produced in Guyana. I am very certain from a business perspective that investing in one of the lots in this industrial estate will be a wise business decision for those in industrial commercial related activities,” Verwey said.
According to Daniel Gajie, President of the Rupununi Chamber of Commerce, the idea of an Industrial Estate in Lethem was mooted since 2004 but has seen the most significant movement during the period 2015 to present.
“I applaud Minister Gaskin’s keen interest to develop this location into a modern functional industrial location and his vision to develop within the estate an area that will help the environment in keeping with the Green State Development Strategy… the Rupununi Chamber of Commerce is willing to be involved and will be involved in this project. We would like to be involved in terms of monitoring the investment together with the ministry of business and other agencies and we urge the establishment of a committee of management,” the RCC president said.
Regional Chairman, Brian Allicock was also high in praise for the development of the facility which will facilitate, among other things, a business incubator in the Region 9 township. He noted that business incubators around the world play an essential role in stimulating growth in the manufacturing and service sectors.
“I must commend Minister Gaskin and team for getting to this level. We are looking up in business in this region, and we have lots of businessmen willing to help us develop this region and the country, from Brazil. This project will be of benefit to us. I am so happy to see once again this kind of development taking place in this region and once, we work together, we can… I must thank the government of Guyana and we will continue to work together.” Regional Chairman, Brian Allicock said.
The Lethem Industrial Estate is located at Bon Success, right bank of the Takatu River, Rupununi District, Region 9, seventy (70) acres of land was identified for development.
Development works at the industrial site were planned to be undertaken in three phases. These include roads and RC drainage structures and culverts, the construction of three thousand and twenty (3,020) meters of roads, six thousand and forty (6,040) meters of drains and culverts, water distribution network and retention ponds.
The estate, which is an initiative of the Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Business, will accommodate 70 businesses, with four being anchor tenants (larger companies).
Supervising consultant of the project, which is expected to be completed by mid- May, is SRK Engineering.
Once completed, the facility will be a stimulus for many of the entrepreneurs within Lethem and the wider Region 9 area.
The Ministry of Business has responsibility for industrial estates at Lethem, Belvedere, Eccles, and Coldingen. The latter two, which have a combined total of 120 developed plots, houses close to 60 developed estates providing jobs for about 4,000 Guyanese.
To date, more than $1Billion has been expended on the Lethem Industrial Estate, and an additional $500M is needed to bring it to completion.
Representatives of the government and people of neighbouring Brazil were also present for the tour.
Images: Kawise Wishart