Dec 08, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – President Dr. Irfaan Ali, on Monday stated that Guyanese businesses are less competitive than their Caribbean and Latin America counterparts are. He made this statement during his keynote address at the Harvard Business faculty workshop on Microeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC).
Ali first explained to the forum that Guyana has had major hydrocarbon deposits discoveries, and stated that with the country’s new found oil wealth – Guyana is now poised to become one of the wealthiest countries in the hemisphere.
“Some estimates suggest that GDP may increase by 300 to 1,000 percent in coming years,” the President noted. He then shared that his government has plans to deploy the gains from exploiting the country’s hydrocarbons deposits into initiatives aimed at expanding the country’s economy and competitiveness.
However, President Ali detailed that currently the productivity of Guyana’s private sector is below the other counterparts in the hemisphere. “So this is an important issue that we will have to address and why this is so, is from the constraints impacting the cost of electricity, the reliability of electricity, telecommunications, our tax rates and tax system, the cost of finance, the political environment, and our competitiveness,” he said before highlighting that those are some of the key factors contributing to the country’s low rate of productivity.
In his discourse he also made reference to International Reports in which Guyana was ranked 121 out of 140 countries in World Economic Forum Competitive Index and ranked 134 of 190 countries in the World Bank Doing Business Index. “The areas of concerns in all these reports are the time it takes for construction permits, getting electricity, and trading across borders,” President Ali added.
To this end he stated that in order to address the issue, his government has set out an “aggressive medium term agenda, and of course, a long term strategy that will address all of these areas.”
According to President Ali, the government’s strategy will improve the country’s positioning in all the areas that he highlighted, including infrastructure transportation links, and development of human capital.
After explaining that the country’s human capital is the most important element for the country to achieve; President Ali shared that upon assuming office in 2020 – they liberalize the telecommunication sector.
It was also noted that the liberalizing of the telecommunication sector was one of the major concerns that were addressed in the International Reports on Guyana. President Ali, however, pointed out that his government has already addressed the issue. “This liberalization saw immense new investment almost instantaneously into the country and this has already led to improvement in this sector,” Ali further disclosed.
The President also spoke about his government’s energy master plan and noted that they are currently in the final stages of having a single window application system for construction permits, which he believes will boosts the country’s competitiveness.
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