Georgetown, Guyana — (March 28, 2018) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon said that through a collaborative effort, the Government of Guyana and members of the Manufacturing Sector can make economic diversification a reality, even as he urged the members of the body to continue to support the development and implementation of the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS). The Minister made these remarks today at the Annual General Meeting of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), held at the Pegasus Hotel, Seawall Road, Georgetown.
“I’m happy to have been afforded this opportunity to share with you the Government’s perspective of our relationship with the Manufacturing and Services sector and our respective roles as we seek to position our country on a sustainable development pathway and to transform Guyana through a diversified and ‘green’ economy into a model ‘green’ state… I urge the GMSA to remain engaged and to continue to give their valuable contribution to the development of the [Green State Development] Strategy,” the State Minister said.
Minister Harmon added that Guyana’s economy diversified within the GSDS can only be achieved through collaboration. “The Strategy will set the foundation for inclusive ‘green’ economic and social growth, create the framework for achieving the sustainable development goals and related targets, and provide the basis for a prosperous and secure future for all Guyanese… The pursuit of this objective is innovative, but it cannot be the sole responsibility of the Government of the day, but that of every citizen of Guyana, including the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association,” he said.
The State Minister also said that, despite differences of opinion from time to time, the Government sees a developmental partner in the GMSA and is committed to Guyana’s economic prosperity. “We are all committed, maybe for different reasons, to the development of Guyana, to the success of our individual and collective endeavors, to economic prosperity, and the provision of a good life for the people of Guyana. These common objectives can be best realised… if we work together; Government, private sector, GMSA,” he said.
Minister Harmon indicated some of the ways in which the Government has started and will continue to work to further develop an more enabling environment for investments in the manufacturing and services sector. “The Government has, through successive national budgets since taking office, instituted several incentives to accelerate growth within the manufacturing and services sector. Among those measures [are] tax exemptions to businesses involved in the importation of ‘green’ equipment… increasing the rebate granted by the Guyana Power and Light Company… as an incentive to manufacturing… We’ve also embarked on institutional reforms, which include the strengthening of the Guyana Revenue Authority to eliminate elements of corruption and tax evasion which created unfair competition for legitimate members of the business community,” he said.
President of the GMSA, Mr. Shyam Nokta said that, in the spirit of collaboration, the Association has been intentional in strategically highlighting areas for Government intervention.
“The Board recognised that for the GMSA to have sustained intervention on [the] barriers [to the manufacturing sector], we needed to engage with Government and to do so through a strategic approach… The GMSA had several engagements with Government. Principal among them, through the mechanism of the Ministerial Roundtable… The GMSA used the opportunity to offer a comprehensive overview of the sectors, pointing out challenges and offering recommendations for Government’s intervention,” he said.
Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Mr. Edward Boyer said that working in isolation is not an option when the success of Guyana is the goal. “The business organisations cannot work in isolation. We have to work with Government to achieve growth and development. I applaud the Government for their determination to address public/private partnership in Guyana since it’s crucial for our coexistence,” he said.
The meeting, which was held under the theme ‘Sustainable Development Through a Diversified Economy,” was also attended by Minister of Business, Mr. Dominic Gaskin and members of Guyana’s Diplomatic Corps.