President Ali tells private sector to seize opportunities, fulfill responsibilities
– Calls for focus to be placed on tangible outcomes of GCCI Business Development Forum
His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali reiterated calls to the local private sector to capitalise on numerous opportunities facilitated by the Government of Guyana.
The Head of State gave this charge during the keynote address earlier today at the opening ceremony of the Business Development Forum 2022 hosted by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) at the Pegasus Corporate Centre.
He said that the private sector members need to be optimistic in their endeavours and reassess if they see the glass half empty or half full and call on those gathered to evaluate the opportunities presented and the percentage of those opportunities seized.
He added that unless private sector members are ready for the “tough conversation” and to face the reality “then they are not assuming their roles and responsibilities or “holding up” their end.
“If I asked the private banks now, how many of that 400 plus businesses that are ready for financing, have a business plan and a feasibility plan ready to be financed, I guarantee you it is less than 15 per cent or 20 per cent. Am I right? You are in this business, and you’re a member of the Chambers, it is true…? Is the glass half full or half empty?
“…We brought a Saudi business investor group ready to form partnerships. We were not ready with one single feasibility study or business plan to present…the Korean group came, we were not ready with one business plan or feasibility study to present.”
The President assured of his continued support in helping to put together a team to write proposals and feasibility studies for those who are interested in seizing the opportunities before them.
He told the gathering of entrepreneurs that they are “pushing at open doors”.
President Ali also challenged the organisers to take a step back from their theoretical approach and focus on the tangible outcomes of the 2022 event.
“Let’s walk this walk now…What have we set as the outcome of the summit? I can tell you as I speak to you now, in the last two years we have more than 420 new small contractors working in this Government, working in this country, getting projects every day. I am together with every group and every individual and every organisation in moving this country forward.”
MEETING THE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS
He assured that his Government is working to meet the development needs of the country, particularly in building the human resource capacity.
“So, we’re working now on a human resource plan that is not only looking at training our skill base for today but training our skill base for 2030 and beyond.”
This, he said, is why the Government is signing an agreement for 150,000 Guyanese to have access to train in coding online and software development.
“In the new Silica City, we’ll have an entire module in the city that focuses on innovation, research and development technology…Mark my words today; we are setting the stage, we’re building infrastructure, we are putting the systems in place.”
President Ali pointed to the importance of such an event that allows for “meaningful conversations that are grounded in practicality”.
He expressed gratitude to the GCCI for the invitation to speak and wished them fruitful outcomes for the two-day event.
Present at the opening ceremony were members of Cabinet, including the Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, the Honourable Dr Ashni Singh, members of the Diplomatic Corps and members of the private sector among other invitees.