…assumes role on Investment Promotion Council
The Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) has been taking an active role in thwarting the abuse of incentives by businesses. This is according to Business Minister, Dominic Gaskin.
The Minister said that the entity is able to do this through its position on the Investment Promotion Council. This is a statutory body set up under the Investment Act to examine Guyana’s incentive regime and make recommendations to improve its effectiveness.
Gaskin said that this is an important responsibility because incentives can cause billions of dollars of tax revenues to be forfeited.
He said that revenues forfeited through incentives must contribute to the development and competitiveness of Guyana’s key economic sectors and must be recoverable in the long-term from increased economic activity.
On the investment facilitation side, the Business Minister said that the Guyana Office for Investment welcomed close to 1000 visitors looking to do business in Guyana between January and September, last.
He stated that the agency has been providing information on starting a business, on concessions and other government policies that can support investments. This is in addition to the role it plays in processing formal applications for investment agreements.
GO-Invest has also hosted trade missions from Brazil and from Canada. There is also a familiarization trip for potential client companies for the Industry.
The latter, according to the Business Minister, has enormous potential for job creation and GO-Invest is monitoring the follow-ups taking place between locally based operators and overseas clients.
Up to the end of October 2017,103 investment projects received the agency’s assistance. Nineteen investment agreements were executed for the year. Three of those were public sector projects with proposed job creation of 122, while the remaining 16 were private sector investments with proposed job creations of 850. The total value of those investments was $23B.
As of the end of October 2017 there were eight applications awaiting approval and 31still being processed. There were also 43 applications for land.
Gaskin said, “Just for benchmarking, if we look at Jamaica and their investment promotion agency JamPro, their annual subvention from the government last year was US$4M and they facilitated 23 investment projects valued at around US340M. GO-Invest would have received an annual subvention of aboutUS$1M just about a quarter of the Government funding that JamPro gets.
Go-Invest is still able to facilitate one third of the value of investments that JamPro is facilitating.”
The Business Minister also noted that Go-Invest recently completed a two-day Joint Venture Training Session to give local businesses a better understanding of how joint ventures work, the benefits of joint ventures and how to go about establishing joint ventures.
He said, “There is a lot of discussion among the Guyanese business community and some of our political commentators about local content and the extent to which Guyanese will benefit from the large sums being spent and being earned as a result of activities in the oil and gas sector.”
Gaskin continued, “We all understand that most Guyanese companies lack the experience, the expertise, the financial resources and the quality control systems to be competitive industry suppliers at this point and that there is an urgent need to build local capacity in order to maximize Guyanese participation in the lucrative opportunities that that oil and gas brings.”
The Minister added, “Joint ventures are one way of Guyanese companies getting involved in the early stages of the development of our offshore industry.
“So this was a timely initiative by GO-Invest that will no doubt impact positively on our private sector.”
Gaskin also stated that Go-Invest also collaborated with the Canadian High Commission, the New Guyana Marketing Corporation and Propel to host a Webinar for producers of fresh and processed food.
The Webinar was focused on providing access to the Canadian market for local producers of fresh and processed foods.
The Agency facilitated the attendance of 23 businesses to expositions outside of Guyana. It also connected over 44 local businesses with markets outside of Guyana.
These were exporters of sugar, rice, wood, seafood, fruits, and vegetables to the United States of America, Dominica, Korea and Trinidad and Tobago.
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