Apr 09, 2017 News
An inadequately educated and trained labour force is a major obstacle for business in Guyana, the Caribbean Region Quarterly Bulletin states.
The report was compiled by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and explores constraints to private sector development in the Caribbean.
Among some of the other challenges noted were access to and cost of electricity; taxes; crime and violence; inefficiency of domestic markets; access to and cost of financing; low research and development; poor infrastructure (roads, ports and air connectivity); weak protection of property rights (land tenure, intellectual property rights, and contract enforcement); and a lack of coordination between government and private sector.
These challenges hinder growth in the private sector and contribute to a less diversified economic structure than wanted, the report stated.
It was noted that while the private sector in each country faces specific issues, most share challenges resulting from red tape, complicated and tedious processes and weak environments for doing business.
Further, it was highlighted that an essential aspect of economic diversification and productivity growth is the development of adequate skills of the labour force.
Compilers of the report used data from the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s competitiveness ranking (2015) and Compete Caribbean’s 2014 PROTEqIN Survey which show that firms face obstacles when hiring new workers due to lack of adequate skills, which may hamper the development of strategic economic sectors.
Further upon examining the “Higher education and training” pillar of the 2015-2016 WEF Global Competitiveness Index, Guyana ranked 59 in quality of education, 49 in extent of staff training in on the-job-training and 67 in the availability of specialized training out of total number of 140 countries reporting.
“The business community views this as a critical obstacle signalling the need to strengthen partnerships between the private sector and educational institutions to improve the quality of schools and vocational training programmes, and to promote apprenticeship and on-the job training programmes,” the report stated.
The report also notes that the local private sector consists of mainly micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises with a few large enterprises operating in the extractive industries. This bit of information was gotten from the Private Sector Advisory Group, 2014.
Further, as of October 2013, the Small Business Bureau’s database included 6,756 businesses. Most of these firms sell their goods and services only to the domestic market; only eight percent of firms report that they export, compared to 17 percent for the rest of the Caribbean.
Also, the majority of firms are family owned—37.5 percent are sole traders and 33 percent are private limited companies—and depend on imported inputs, 73 percent compared to 57 percent for the rest of the Caribbean.
The report also highlighted that aside from educational and training factors resulting in an inadequately educated labour force, Guyana continues to experience a severe brain drain, limiting the availability of adequately educated workers, further hindering its ability to close the skills gap.
Comparing Guyana’s outflow migration with other Caribbean countries, the compilers of the report noted that the severity of the issue becomes clear: 37 percent of Guyana’s population lives abroad, against 20 percent for Trinidad and Tobago, 30 percent for Suriname and 27 percent for Jamaica.
Furthermore, the highest rate of migration is seen among university graduates.
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