National Assembly approves $9.2B for Tourism, Commerce sector

The National Assembly on Wednesday approved $9.2B for the Tourism, Industry and Commerce sectors as the government will place more emphasis on the development of tourism, and small businesses this year.

While continuing the examination of the estimates in the National Assembly, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond noted that some 60 persons will be trained in several communities in the Digital in Motion Programme.

Minister Walrond and her team answer questions during the examination of the budget estimates

“This is a programme that helps Small and Micro Enterprises to train them to use digital methods to support their businesses and to enhance productivity and capacity as well as connectivity in the market,” she stated.

Additionally, the Small Business Development Fund was allocated 450 million this year.

Minister Walrond stated that since taking office in 2020, this administration has given out some 4,000, grants through the Small Business Bureau to the tune of $999m as compared with the 900 grants given out by the previous administration entire tenure in Office.

“These grants are open to all Guyanese and Small and Micro Enterprises that wish to apply and to all regions,” Minister Walrond stated.

With regards to the Lethem Industrial Estate, the Minister noted that that a large portion of the business incubator is finished, but an additional portion that will be completed in 2024.

“In 2024, we are outfitting further the business incubator area. We are taking applications for the industrial estate proper and applications as well for the business incubator area…that’s where we will be doing agro-processing, garment processing, food processing, purification of water…these are the kinds of activities that we are inviting on the estate,” she stated

In addition, the Onderneeming industrial development works, in Region Two, has been allocated $835 million for the for the continued development of 52 acres of land for the purposes of industrial development area. This is scheduled to be completed in October.

The land is being cleared for the establishment of an Industrial Estate in Linden.

Industrial Development at Wales, minister Walrond stated, is to increase the level of value-added activities in the Wales Development Zone, and that project will also start this year.

Meanwhile, the Ministry will support Guyana’s participation in the Japan Tourism Expo slated for 2025 at a cost of $30M.

This year the ministry will also support local events through, the Guyana Tourism Authority, at a cost of $77M and under the Department of Tourism is $27M.

These events include the Guyana energy Conference, Mashramani, T20, Rupununi Rodeo, Interschools kayaking competition, Rupununi Music and Arts Festival, Berbice Expo, Guy Expo, Building Expo, Agri Expo, CPL Cricket South Rupununi Safari, Moraikobai Offroad Safari, among others. 

“There has been a reason that tourism has been seeing the success it is seeing right now it is with a clear vision and a plan” she stated.

There will also be training through the Department of Tourism that will benefit the various regional tourism committees and staff of the ministry, and the development of community-based tourism development handbooks.

A regional travel guide is being developed for each region, highlighting the unique attractions.

In addition, the contract was signed for the construction of the Hospitality Institute which falls under the purview of the is under Ministry of Education.

“We are about to start the consultancy for the build out of that institute, the ministry of tourism will be supporting the curriculum development for the institute, in the meanwhile we continue to train, throughout the regions we have trained about 12 hundred persons in safety, cuisine management, hotel management and we continue to do that throughout all of the regions,” Minister Walrond stated.

Under Rural Enterprise Development, two call centres will be established in Region Five which will provide 800 jobs.