As he outlined the reasons for endorsing A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change
(APNU+AFC) coalition, local businessman, Jacob Rambarran, said, recently, that too many incentives are being granted to foreign investors while Guyanese are left to fend for -+themselves on an unleveled playing field.
Rambarran was recently interviewed by communications officer, Royston King, on a programme aired on RBS channel 13.
During the interview, Rambarran touched on many issues which are negatively impacting Guyana’s economy and by extension the quality of life being enjoyed by citizens.
One of the many things he pointed to is that while Guyana has lots to offer, locals are being denied the opportunity to make a decent living.
According to him, more than or equally disturbing is the fact that the government looks out for friends and families of those in ruling positions. Foreigners are being allowed to gain more from the country’s natural resources than born and bred Guyanese, he added.
He said that Chinese nationals have control of the logging industry, the gold mining industry and have a firm grip on commerce.
Chinese in Gold mining
Rambarran pointed to recent revelations to the effect that Chinese are closing in on local miners with regards to the number of owned mining properties.
A recent report stated that Chu Hongbo, who also owns Bai Shan Lin logging company, has 109 medium-scale mining prosperities, making him the third largest holder of medium scale mining permits in Guyana.
The report has also highlighted Hongbo’s 72 mining claims pointing out that the claim system was intended exclusively for Guyana and it was never the intention of the mining Act to allow non-Guyanese persons and corporations to operate in the small and medium scale mining systems.
Rambarran lamented that along with the many claims that Chinese nationals were able to get their hands on, they are also given duty free concessions. “But I read that one of the Chinese is now a Guyanese so that makes it ok.”
Rambarran was referring to the defence mounted by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) to the effect that Hongo has attained Guyanese citizenship via naturalization hence his legal entitlement to claims.
“Guyanese are feeling rejected in their own country…there are no incentives for them,” said Rambarran.
Chinese in Logging
The businessman then turned his attention to what is happening in the logging industry w2hich Rambarran said has suffered a massive Chinese takeover.
Bai Shan Lin is the largest logging company in Guyana. It has been accused of “raping” the forest, destroying roads and giving Guyana nothing in return.
Reports are that the company has a policy to “chop down anything in its way” without replanting.
“You see what is happening in the logging industry; the entire forest is being cut down,” said Rambarran. He said that billions of dollars in logs are being shipped out of Guyana and “(the Chinese) are not only taking from their own concessions, they’re also buying from the locals.”
“Guyana is not gaining; I am not seeing the gain, but somebody is pocketing a lot of money because a lot is going out but I do not think the ordinary Guyanese is gaining anything.
Chinese in Commerce
Rambarran made no qualms to accept and admit that “Guyana needs foreign investment.” He said that the problem however, is that a level playing field is not being established.
“We need to have a level playing field. I think if there is a leveled field people would not complain. Everybody paying full taxes but the Chinese are not doing so.”
He said that Guyanese business people create jobs for Guyanese but “Chinese are here selling Chinese products, promoting China, keeping their people employed and keeping Chinese industry going. W need to look at our own industries and keep it going.”
He lamented that the government is not seeing it necessary to do all it can to promote local business ventures. The result is that “Guyanese are presently at a disadvantage.”
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