Keith Burrowes, Chairman of one of the key investment agencies in Guyana, “GO-Invest” recently disclosed that the company is unable to carry out its functions due to the lack of necessary resources.
GO-Invest is a government agency which provides counsel and concessions to investors looking for the best way to start a business in Guyana.
It also enables entrepreneurs from around the globe to tap into the wealth of trade and investment opportunities available in the country.
Whilst the organization managed to do some infrastructural adjustments, the Chairman noted that the Corporation can accomplish more than it is at the moment if it had the necessary resources to do so.
He said that one of the challenges the company faces is not having a system that captures the total investments of the country.
Also affecting the company’s ability to perform effectively is the fact that information on which markets or areas have the most potential for investors is not readily available.
However, in an effort to improve this system, Burrowes said that the organization is currently going through a modernization process.
He said, “There are other companies which grant concessions to businessmen. And part of our responsibility, is to document all investments made into the country. However, GO-Invest would be unable to provide such a report if we were called upon.
“We would have to be running here, there and everywhere just to gather the information. So we are currently looking at constructing a system to deal with that. Also, what affects the effective presentation of data to our clients is not having the statistics at hand to show which sectors of our country may be more viable than others.
“And we are trying our best to change that because it is affecting many things that we want to do. We just need to be equipped with the necessary skills and labour to achieve these things.”
He added, “Over the years, the company has managed to attract a number of foreign and local investors, which have significantly impacted the economy of the country. However, a lot is still needed to measure the true value of most of the investments being made in Guyana.”
“With the development of an Investment Management Software, Go-Invest intends to bridge the gap of reporting on and managing its investors.”
Burrowes strongly advocated the need for the software system which he claims will eliminate a lot of human errors and manual work that can make investing a real arduous task.
While the enhancement of their database will boost their relationship with the private sector, Burrowes said that they have created a draft for the concept of the software which is currently being looked at by President Donald Ramotar.
After providing a copy of the company’s recently published report which covered the performance from 2010 to 2011, he indicated that investors and exporters have judged that the company’s follow-up service with government agencies.
Financial Analyst, Ramon Gaskin, who analyzed the report, concluded that it raised more questions than answers.
Gaskin said, “The performance report of Go-Invest is all talks. It is clear that Go-Invest doesn’t have any resources. The company is irrelevant; it is of no use to the country although it is supposed to be a one-stop shop for investors.”
“Even more ridiculous is that from 1994 to now it only has one report to show. What happened to the reports for the other years? Go-Invest is a failure.”
According to the report, Gaskin highlighted that an amount of $37 billion was invested in the year 2010. There were then 509 projects on stream for that year and only 2500 persons employed.
“What this simply means is that approximately $74 million was invested for each project in 2010 and only five persons per project were employed. Something is wrong with that. All that money and that’s the amount of people they employed? I refuse to believe that. What raises eye brows too is that they don’t have a list of the local and foreign companies that invested in this country through Go Invest,” the analyst asserted.
Gaskin said, “The report claims that for the past five years 1800 projects were on stream but last year the National Insurance Scheme reported there was a reduction of employers contributing to the N.I.S by 25 percent.”
“So if all these new projects are coming on stream, aren’t they paying N.I.S? All these billions of dollars were invested by GO-Invest yet the N.I.S has reported a decline.”
In addition to this, when checks were at the insurance scheme, a senior employee said, “I am unable to provide you with the exact figures. I am not going to. But I am, however, shocked that the investment company would say that in their report. What I can safely say is that the figures reported by Go-Invest are far from the truth. We don’t have records of so many new workers being registered under the investment agency. I would strongly advise that they review their report again.”
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