Young Business Professionals brainstorm ideas at 2019 Budget talks

DPI, Guyana, Friday, September 14, 2018

On September 13, the fifth day of Budget 2019 consultations began with Minister of Finance Winston Jordan and his team meeting with the African Business Roundtable (ABR). The organisation, one of four private sector organisations, was represented by Executive Director Dr. Eric Phillips and Executives Shabaki Fernandes and Dion Haynes.

The ABR is a driving force behind the upcoming “Green Expo”, scheduled for October 18, 2018. Dr. Phillips stressed the Expo’s importance at creating awareness of sustainable energy usage, in light of the imminent oil and gas industry. He noted the challenges faced by Venezuela and Trinidad due to falling international petroleum prices, “We should be looking to be a green economy funded by oil resources. We have an oil sector that will help us to take our national patrimony.”

The discussions, he explained focused on the move by ABR to take up the challenge to transition small and medium-sized African businesses, “along that green path.” He posited, “We have a lot of vendors. How do we take them along the path to the ‘Green economy’? Where they can always get jobs. We talked about procurement and the equity in procurement. We talked about our youths and village diversification because our villages need sustainable job creating environments. In order to do that, all the land they have must be managed carefully. We’re teaching them how to raise capital through communal capitalism.”

Dr. Phillips said his team members were pleased with how the Finance Ministry team responded and shared ideas.

The next discussions were held with a cross-section of more than eight (8) young entrepreneurs. The Finance Minister likened the spirited discussions as one more akin to a ‘think tank’. He said, “I like the ideas that were coming out. I think we have to have more of these with these young entrepreneurs. They have some simple solutions to some not so simple problems. I think what I would have taken away from this meeting is that engagement is better than non- engagement. I’ve learned a lot and they have given me food for thought, for helping their business and helping the economy to grow.” 

By: Paul Mc Adam.

Images: Dereck Bridgemohan.

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