The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) believes that the mining, agriculture and financial sectors are in trouble. On this note, its members are calling for immediate action to be taken by the government.
This call was made specifically by GCCI President, Deodat Indar. He was at the time, delivering his remarks at the launch of the GCCI’s ninth business magazine on Thursday at the Pegasus Hotel.
There, Indar said, “Other sectors that need urgent attention in the economy are the mining and quarrying sector, financial sector and the agriculture sector, especially in the sugar sub sector where there are huge job losses. The foreign currency reserve at the Central Bank needs to be at a level that is at least three months import cover. This will provide the level of safety needed in the economy.”
The GCCI President added, “Fuel prices also need to be kept at an affordable price as this can have a wide impact on price inflation and carry up cost of living.”
Further to this, Indar said that real estate in certain areas in Guyana is poised to experience price inflation due to more demand. The GCCI President stressed, too, that human development has to be enhanced. In this regard, he said that private sector bodies are partnering with overseas firms to develop local capacity to create an economy of skilled workforce to address the needs of the future industries.
Indar said, “Standards such as HACCP, ISO 9001 and Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) are being implemented in companies in the private sector to bring them to a level that is expected of international firms which are now operating here. We need to work as one to address the challenges that we are confronted with.”
He added, “Both Government and private sector are needed to lock heads together to craft strategies that would arrest decline and stagnation in some sectors. We at the GCCI strongly believe that the oil and gas sector needs to be developed in conjunction with other sectors of the economy; we need a diversified mix of economic sectors to withstand external shocks if world market prices fall to unsustainable levels for prolonged periods in the future.”
As for his other observations about the economy, Indar recognized that the construction sector has grown. He said that infrastructure throughout Guyana will have to be enhanced and in some cases transformed to be able to address the needs of the upcoming oil boom.
The GCCI President articulated that all ports and wharves would have to be further developed and certified.
In addition, Indar said that the hospitality and tourism sector has grown and will continue to do so, given the influx of foreign nationals here on a daily basis.
He also noted that whole sale and retail business grew by 8.7% in 2017. He said that this is partly due to the increased presence of Cubans here. He said that this represents 25.6% of the entire service sector.
He said, too, that credit for private investments is available in the banking sector in areas of working capital, expansion and new ventures. Indar also praised the fact that rice production has grown substantially and is expected to grow further.
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