Jul 30, 2018 News
The issue of small businesses not having an opportunity to access Government contracts has engaged the attention of the Small Business Bureau (SSB).
In its most recent report tabled in the National Assembly last week, the Bureau pointed out that the Procurement Act (2003) provides for small businesses in Guyana to access government contracts.
According to the report, which detailed the performance of the entity in 2016, the Small Business Bureau has met with representatives of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Business, the Small Business Council and other stakeholders to implement the provisions set forth in the Act.
However, the report noted that there are concerns relating to some contrasts between the Procurement Act (2003) and the Small Business Act (2004), which will require constitutional amendments.
SBB has to ensure a guarantee and commitment of 20% Government procurement from small businesses.
“Nevertheless, discussions will continue to ensure the smooth implementation of the Procurement Act, which will provide an opportunity for small businesses to be guaranteed, access to government contracts. While work is being done on the development of the Small Business Procurement Policy. The Small Business Bureau encourages, ministries, and other government agencies to buy from small business,” the report noted.
Further, the report highlighted that entrepreneurs in Guyana can be classified as necessity entrepreneurs, that is, individuals that are pushed into entrepreneurship because they have no better alternatives for work, reflecting the scarcity of decent wage-labour opportunities in the economy.
However, the report noted that despite the importance of entrepreneurship, there is an absence of a National Entrepreneurship Strategy or direct policy to support entrepreneurship.
The report noted plans to start preparation for this National Entrepreneurship Strategy.
During reporting period, the SBB stated that it continued to administer the Micro and Small Enterprises Development (MSED) Project resulting in the approval of loans for 63 businesses, which amounted to $237,743,000.
Under the MSED programme, the government of Guyana provides small business grants of $300,000 maximum, to small businesses. This is mainly provided for start-up businesses, but may be extended to existing businesses based on their needs.
The Grant Committee also approved 73 grants totaling $21,900,000. SBB noted that through the grant scheme and mutual guarantee scheme approximately 373 jobs were directly created and sustained.
According to the report, the SBB also established training agreements with several partners.
“Through these arrangements coupled with internal resources, a total of 1,353 persons were trained across Guyana, in various areas including business management fundamentals and hands-on technical skills training,” the report notes.
Among the recommendations was for more fiscal incentives for small businesses. These incentives, according to the SBB, play a pivotal role in the strengthening of the country’s economy by boosting the growth of the small business sector.
The report highlighted the need for tax breaks for start-up businesses for at least five years of operation and reduced duty concessions for small businesses.
The report also noted internal efforts being made to serve clients better.
Based on the report, a review was done on the governance model employed by the SBB to ensure effective management both in its external engagements and internal management practices.
The report noted that the review and strengthening of an accounting policy and procedure manual to assist in strengthening the governance framework of the Bureau was undertaken.
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