Apr 14, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Guyana’s economy is reported to have grown by 43.5 percent this past year despite the non-oil economy contracting by more than seven percent, but according to the Minister with responsibility for the Business and Trade portfolios, the Ministry is now overwhelmed with demands for the establishment of more industrial zones with requests from domestic businesses looking to expand operations, or to set up shop in an ‘industrial’ zoned area.
As such, the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce is looking to establish shortly two additional industrial zones in the country, namely in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice) and Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).
The disclosure was had on Monday evening, when Minister Oneidge Walrond discussed the state of affairs with Dr. Asquith Rose and Charles Sugrim, during a GlobeSpan24X7 live broadcast.
According to the Minister, the opening of new industrial zones in Guyana will complement the reopened and reinvigorated facilities that had been in existence but suffered from neglect by her predecessors.
She told the moderators that the Ministry recently invited businesses interested in taking up spots in the Belvedere and Lethem Industrial Estates.
Walrond stated there was “an overwhelming response from business people” that were looking to the administration to make land available and provide the infrastructure.
She said, at the time of the invite, some 70 businesses expressed an interest.
As such, the Minister noted that, as the Ministry with responsibility for industrial zones in Guyana, they would be looking to expand the industrialised zones to other parts of the country.
This, she said, is in recognition that “each community ought to have access to same opportunities in terms of business and to have access to resources.”
The Minister disclosed that while the administration aims for the two new industrial sites this year, the aim is to have each Administrative Region housing about two to three sites, noting that, “every year we hope to build out and add more.”
She told the moderators that those in existence, such as the Belvedere and Lethem sites were in fact languishing and that the “whole idea is to reintroduce economic activity to these estates.”
The Minister told the moderators that her People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration had recognised since its previous time in Office that small businesses, especially, are the engine of growth, not just in Guyana but across the world, “so we recognise this and as government we need to support.”
She said it is with this in mind that the PPP/C in 2004 introduced the Small Businesses Act, which created the legal infrastructure for small business to thrive with protected access for “certain fiscal incentives.”
According to the Minister with responsibility for the domestic trade and commerce portfolio, small businesses were “being crowded out by the larger fishes” and that in order to give them an opportunity to thrive, the legislation was implemented.
She said that with the return of the PPP/C to power, the administration will “push along that same principle.”
Minister Walrond qualified her position by pointing to the recent amendments to the legislation that she promulgated that would have provided a guarantee for 20 percent of all government contracts to be given to small businesses. The amendments have since made the 20 percent stipulation for businesses mandatory and according to Walrond, is “putting our words to action.”
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