Small businesses vital to the economy

– they create jobs, bolster communities
– President Ali

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali says small businesses play a crucial role in Guyana’s economic development as they create jobs and increase revenue in communities and the country as a whole.

The President made this statement in his feature address at the 131st Annual General Meeting of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which was hosted virtually on Tuesday.

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali

Small businesses, the President said, drive the economy by creating employment.

“They generate significant self-employment and help to sustain growth and foster the effective distribution of goods and services… Small businesses represent the arms and legs, propelling our economy forward, sustaining employment and acting as a vital cog in the distribution, marketing and consumption of goods and services of large businesses.”  

The Head of State said his Government remains committed to supporting small businesses development, as demonstrated by the amendment of the Small Business Act.  

“The ‘Act’ expands the range of procurement opportunities for small businesses. We have already granted small businesses a five per cent advantage in bidding for State contracts. Also, the maximum threshold for grants disbursed by the Small Business Bureau through the Small Business Development Fund has been increased by 100 per cent.”

President Ali said Government has pledged to work with stakeholders to improve small businesses’ access to finance. Other plans for small business development include the development of business incubators nationwide.

“As we do these things, we are also increasing opportunities for businesses through the Public Sector Investment Programme. We have designed an ambitious infrastructural programme which will unlock untold opportunities for businesses, big and small.”

The President also noted that the consumer is at the heart of business. To this end, the Government will implement a raft of measures aimed at protecting consumers from unscrupulous practices, including unfair dispossession by hire purchasers.     

“I am sure that you are fully aware of the transformative infrastructural plans which are already on stream or are in the pipeline… Numerous opportunities in the oil and gas sector and those which will result from the modernisation of the traditional sectors – agriculture, fisheries, forestry and mining – and the catalysing of new sectors such as ICT, tourism and aquaculture.”

President Ali said 10 small businesses cannot do it alone, but 400 small businesses coming together, and capitalising on bigger market opportunities, can create the environment in which the country could build industries that are second to none.