The Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin, has expressed that Guyana’s position on doing business will
improve tremendously within the next two to three years. In order to improve the business atmosphere in the country, the Minister said that several changes need to be made, inclusive of legislative amendments, enacting new laws and working with relevant stakeholders.
In addition, he said that changes need to be made outside of his Ministry to promote an environment which supports the business sector. In an interview with Kaieteur News, Gaskin said that these changes will occur if attention is placed on specific economic indicators.
Some of these indicators were pointed out in the recently published “Doing Business 2016 Report on Guyana” by the World Bank. The indicators are specific pointers which are considered as important to persons interested in doing business in Guyana.
The ‘Doing Business’ report measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of the areas included in this year’s ranking on the ease of doing business are: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. It also measures labour market regulation, which is not included in this year’s ranking.
The Minister said that currently his Ministry is engaged with a team from the World Bank to address what needs to be changed in order to improve Guyana’s ranking. Currently Guyana ranks 137 out of 189 states on the ease of doing business ranking.
Gaskin said that in this light, assistance is also being received from other parties in other areas. He said that work is being done to prepare an action plan, with the technical assistance being offered by the World Bank.
In the report, Guyana was given credit for establishing a Credit Bureau, the first of its kind. According to the Minister, even this had taken some time, and only earned the country one point. He said that the experience with passing the requisite Act to make the Bureau materialize was a lot of work, and is the reason why he can guarantee that positive changes will come about within two to three years, and that the government is committed to this focus.
The National Assembly had passed the Credit Reporting (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016.
Gaskin posited that improving Guyana’s ranking will not only centre on creating new laws, but also the implementation of these reforms. The “Doing Business” report takes into consideration the climate in which someone wishes to establish a local limited liability company.
Globally, Guyana stands at 99 in the ranking of 189 economies on the protection of minority investor index. On the issue of paying taxes without hassle Guyana ranks 117 out of the 189 economies which have been assessed.
On the matter of cross border trade, the nation ranks 139. Guyana ranks 87 – above economies such as Jamaica which stands at 107 – on the easiness of enforcing commercial contracts.
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