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CEDA assisting Government and Private Sector to plan new business-to-business event for 2018

(Ministry of Business/June 15/2017/Georgetown/Guyana) The inaugural meeting of the Steering Committee for what will be a major biennial business-to-business engagement in 2018 was held yesterday in the Boardroom of the Ministry of Business.

The idea for the initiative emerged from consultations on the future of GUYEXPO.

Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) had agreed to provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Business to restructure GUYEXPO. In February 2017, CEDA’s competitiveness and Innovation Manager along with representatives from Jamaica Investment Promotions (JAMPRO), the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce visited Guyana and conducted a two-day workshop with the GUYEXPO planning committee that included representatives from the Ministry of Business, the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) and Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).

CEDA and the Ministry also had consultations with Local business leaders in March 2017, arising out of those consultations, it was agreed that a new event that is purposeful and focused on business to business engagements was needed. Hence the concept for the business to business event was developed.

The event which is yet to be officially named, is geared to providing sustainable markets for export-ready products; providing opportunities for foreign companies to partner with local companies; and also providing opportunities for green field ventures among other outcomes.

The event is expected to contribute positively to export earnings for Guyana, build capacity of local businesses and aid general growth and development of the business sector.

Its objectives are to promote packaged investment opportunities for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI); link export-ready firms to export-markets; create opportunities for foreign investors to partner with local businesses; and to highlight Guyana as a good place to do business.

GUYEXPO, which was introduced in 1995, was initially under consideration to be redesigned but recommendations coming out of the consultations were for GUYEXPO to maintain its current business-to-consumer format since it was now an established brand. However, given the emphasis on export-promotion, it is unlikely that GUYEXPO will be held this year.

The Steering Committee includes: CEO GO-INVEST, Owen Verwey ( Chairman), Representatives of CEDA, Coordinator of the National Exhibition Center, Tameca Sukdeo-Singh (Coordinator), CEO Small Business Bureau, Lowell Porter, First Vice President, Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association, Ramsey Ali, Director, Guyana Tourism Authority, Indranauth Singh, Junior Vice Chairman Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry Timothy Tucker, and Vice Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Desmond Sears.

‘Guyana has the ability to sustain international companies’

Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin, Wednesday, June 7, 2017, was the Keynote Speaker at the Launching of Shell Fuel Save, Guyana Marriott Hotel. Minister Gaskin spoke to several issues including the need for businesses to constantly improve, investing in research and development, and the importance of authorized distributorships. He also addressed Guyana’s improved customer services; our ability to sustain international companies; and Guyana’s Green State Development Strategy.

Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin said in his remarks, “For consumers it’s good to have choices and businesses must provide those choices. In business we must seek to constantly improve – what we do, as well as the quality of, whatever product or service we provide. And it is through this constant quest for improvement on the part of businesses that even consumers of fairly standard products, like paint or gas, are provided with precisely formulated new varieties to suit their requirements or preferences.”

“Smart businesses invest in research and development in order to stay ahead of their competitors through new and better products and other innovations. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and if you don’t have new or improved products on the market you will eventually start to lose your share of the market,” he stated.

The Minister of Business emphasized that, “With this and other SOL products customers also have the benefit of an authorized distribution system which allows for accountability and traceability, and guarantees that the products reaching the consumer are genuine and conform to set standards and specifications.”

He continued, “There are too many products imported into Guyana today that are not acquired through authorized distributorships and are therefore not backed by the quality assurances and after sales support of such a system, leaving consumers unprotected in the event of any defects”.

He noted as well, “SOL now has a presence in about two dozen countries and I am sure it has different experiences in each of these countries. Reputable international companies must feel at home operating in Guyana and must be able to do so successfully.”

“Guyana’s ability to sustain international companies is a reflection of our readiness to do business with the rest of the world and the economic opportunities that exist here,” he said.

Minister Gaskin added that, “Guyana is entering a new economic era that will expose us to international norms and standards in the world of business. Guyana is expected to be producing oil by 2020. This is causing a lot of excitement both in and out of Guyana. It is also placing Guyana in the spotlight and this means that we can no longer do as we please without consequences. What happens in Guyana no longer stays in Guyana and what happens here in business is being observed far and wide. We can use this as an opportunity to showcase our country in a positive light to potential investors and partners.”

Minister Gaskin also emphasized the importance of investors understanding the long-term vision for Guyana, and explained that “the Green State Development Strategy is currently a framework that builds on Guyana’s commitments made under the Paris Climate Agreement.  It identifies a green pathway for Guyana’s development and prioritizes the well-being of our environment and of our people for generations to come.”

He further noted that “with our small population and large areas of attractive and undisturbed natural habitats there is every possibility that our most valuable resource will always be our well preserved natural environment – as long as we don’t destroy it”

The Minister concluded his remarks by suggesting that “in the same way that Shell has invested its resources into developing this new product, we in Guyana need to use our most innovative and enterprising minds and spirits to find non-destructive ways to generate sustainable economic benefits from our natural habitats.”

Ministry of Business representatives for EXPO 2017 in Astana

(Ministry of Business/June 5/2017/Georgetown/Guyana) Guyana’s participation in Expo 2017 Astana is one step closer to realization with the departure of two representatives of the Department of Tourism of the Ministry of Business to oversee Guyana’s booth from June 10th to September 10th, 2017.

Senior Tourism Officer, Ms. Sanchia Persaud, National Coordinator for the EXPO, along with Ms. Chevon Lim, the Stand Manager left Guyana last Saturday (June 3rd) for Astana, Kazakhstan. There they will manage the Guyana Booth where a variety of Guyanese products and services are expected to be on display over the next three months.

Additionally, a number of local artistes are expected to join them in August to be part of a cultural showcase.

EXPO 2017 is being organised under the theme ‘Future Energy’. This, along with the three subthemes – Reducing CO2 Emissions, Living Energy Efficiency, and Energy for All – will allow the Expo to present the state of energy today and to showcase sustainable solutions and innovative technologies.

EXPO 2017 Astana organisers expect over 5 million visitors to attend the event and hope to gather over 100 official participants.

Kazakhstan was elected by the member states of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) to host Expo 2017 during the organization’s General Assembly in November of 2012, and Expo 2017 Astana was formally recognised by the General Assembly in June 2014.

“Business training is important; do not be intimidated by technology” – Minister Gaskin tells Financial Literacy and Small Business Training Programme grads

Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin with graduands, representatives of the Ministry of Education including Director of Youth Melissa Carmichael and Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment, Aubrey Norton.

Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin on Thursday, June 1, 2017 delivered the Charge and Closing Remarks to the graduating class of the Financial Literacy and Small Business Training Programme facilitated by Office of the Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment, at the National Racquet Centre- Woolford Avenue. He encouraged students to understand a business’ functions, the basic calculations necessary, the need to pay taxes and understand operating expenses, budgeting and the limitless possibilities of technology.

Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin told students, “Anything to do with business is important – including training; you need to understand the financial aspects of running a business, how to plan and know some basic calculations that tell you what your profit is.”

He told students that linked to profit is knowing how much taxes to pay. “I hope that in this training you were taught about taxes and the importance of paying taxes on time and the importance of filing tax returns,” Minister Gaskin said.

Minister Gaskin told those gathered profits are also linked to how much money you can afford to take out of a business. “If you draw out more than your profits then you will end up not being able to meet your operating expenses; be in debt or unable to produce. Work with budgets in your business.”

He stated that student need to have an idea of what kind of business they wanted to get into, spending some time exploring options.

Additionally, Minister Gaskin pointed to how internationally technology start-ups are leading the way but here in Guyana this is not yet a common choice for young entrepreneurs. “I would say to you that this is an area with limitless possibilities,” he stated. “Do not be intimidated by technology, find a way to apply technology to what you do in business. And I can’t think of any business that you can’t improve through the use of technology,” Minister Gaskin told students.

Minister Gaskin stated that technology had led to precision agriculture where data analysis let farmers be more precise, reducing expenses and allowing them to be competitive. He said students should innovate through developing apps. “Writing apps is an area of business for which there is a lot of scope in Guyana. Many apps are simple and easy to use. You can find an app to help you create a business plan, financial projections, balance accounts or to calculate monthly repayments on loans.”

He told students, “My message to you today is simple. You’ve successfully completed the first step of a journey that can take you places beyond your wildest dreams. You now have to take the second and third steps to put you on the right path. Today’s world is technology driven and if you want your journey towards success to be a smooth one you have to learn and embrace modern technology from now.”

Additionally, Minister Gasking stated, “Start getting your ideas crystallized and documented so you can share them whenever the opportunity arises. You never know when an opportunity may arise for you to share your business proposal with someone who may be in a position to help you, make sure you’re always prepared.”

“Congratulations on successfully completing your training. Our government will continue to place great emphasis on ensuring that our young people are equipped with the skills needed for economic empowerment. And this is just another manifestation of that commitment,” Minister Gaskin told students.

The event saw 25 young students graduate who came from several regions across Guyana and underscored Government’s commitment to empowering young people through education and training.

 

Guyana’s 51st Independence Anniversary, Diaspora Direct Event, High Commission of Guyana, London

PRESS RELEASE

Guyana is on the cusp of a major economic transformation, to provide opportunities for the socio-economic advancement of our people.

(Ministry of Business/May28/2017 / Georgetown/Guyana) On Friday May 26th, 6 pm, Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin, delivered remarks in celebration of Guyana’s 51st Independence Anniversary as part of a Diaspora Direct Event at the High Commission of Guyana, London. Minister Gaskin while giving best wishes on behalf of the Government of Guyana spoke to the challenge organizing the Diaspora community and managing its expectations; the realities of governing and the advances of the Government on several fronts; commenting also on the Manchester Attack in Britain.

The Minister stated, “Guyana is on the cusp of a major economic transformation which is expected to provide opportunities for the socio-economic advancement of our people. It is what has to happen if we’re serious about the development of our country.”

He acknowledged that Guyanese who live in the United Kingdom have a lot to offer Guyana. “Our Government has developed a Diaspora Engagement Strategy aimed at ensuring that Guyanese outside of Guyana have an opportunity to contribute to the development of our country.”

Minister Gaskin said that, “The challenges we face are not unlike those faced by most countries in the world. There is poverty, there is inequality, and there is poor education and health care. This is what we inherited and this is what we are fixing.”

He said doing business in Guyana has been a major challenge. However, he added “The Ministry of Business has sought assistance from the World Bank and is currently working on an action plan to improve the ease of doing business in Guyana. Significant improvements are expected over the coming years.”

“In spite of many challenges, Guyana’s economy is still growing. Last year it grew by 3.3% which is impressive when compared to all our neighbouring economies: Venezuela – experiencing severe economic depression; Brazil – experiencing negative economic growth for a second year running; Trinidad – experiencing negative growth also; and Barbados – its economy grew by less than one percent last year,” Minister Gaskin emphasized.

He also noted that with the discovery of oil, “We are receiving a level of attention that we are not accustomed to and this is not necessarily a bad thing”. He reminded the audience that Guyana has for a long time been ignored by the international business community and not given much consideration as an investment destination, adding that “we have a chance to change this and to transform our country into one that is ready to do business with the rest of the world”

The Minister also stressed the dangers of over reliance on a single sector to drive Guyana’s economic growth. Pointing to the value-added sectors such as agro-processing, forestry products, pharmaceuticals, tourism, business process outsourcing and – infrastructure development, he identified these as areas that “needed to be kick-started if we are to diversify our foreign earnings and create sustainable economic growth and employment”.

Minister Gaskin stated, “Guyana has what it takes to produce food on a large scale; Guyana has what it takes to emerge as a top eco-tourism destination. Guyana has what it takes to provide various business services that meet global requirements. Guyana has raw materials that can be processed at home.”

On Guyana’s infrastructure plans the Minister disclosed that “our investments in infrastructure are also expected to increase national competitiveness. The road from Lethem to the Atlantic Coast will become a reality. Already a section from Linden to Mabura is being paved and a bridge over the Essequibo will connect that road to the final stretch to Lethem, providing an alternate route to the Atlantic for Brazilian businesses”.

“A new bridge will be built across the Demerara River, to take off the heavy traffic that can no longer be efficiently handled by the current bridge; new roads will link the East Bank Demerara to the East Coast of Demerara and link Parika to Linden via the East Bank of the Essequibo River. So there will be the opening up of new lands which will see development of new agricultural, industrial and residential areas”.

Additionally, Minister Gaskin stressed the importance of ensuring that the natural wealth that Guyanese who are alive today would have inherited is passed down to subsequent generations. “The conservation and preservation of our natural habitats – rainforests, wetlands, and savannahs is therefore an obligation that we take seriously and Guyana has maw several notable commitments in this regard. An additional two million hectares have been committed for conservation and Guyana has committed to the use of renewable energy sources for the generation of 100% of its electricity needs by the year 2025. We are currently exploring the use of some form of sovereign wealth fund to guarantee the wellbeing of future generations of Guyanese.”

He also told those present that despite daily reports of crime in Guyana, the rate of most forms of serious crimes were down when compared to previous years and that so far for 2017 the downward trajectory was continuing. He however cautioned that the level of crime was still an area that needed attention and assured the audience that it was receiving high attention.

Public Advisory to Poultry Importers

The Guyana Livestock Development Authority has advised that the importation of poultry originating from the United States of America is temporarily suspended. This is due to the prevalence of a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in some parts of the USA, which poses significant health risks to Guyana.

The situation continues to be monitored by the GLDA who will advise further. The Ministry of Business will also continue to update Importers with regards to this issue as more information becomes available.

Nicola Namdeo
Director of Commerce

“Government willing and ready to engage the Private Sector on matters related to Guyana’s economy”

These are the sentiments echoed by Guyana’s Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin as he addressed participants on the final day of the inaugural Guyana Oil and Gas Conference taking place at the Guyana Marriott Hotel.

In his presentation the Minister sought to address the challenges facing Guyana’s economy and to share his perspective on where oil fits in the grand scheme of things.

He assured those gathered that his government prioritizes the interest of the Guyanese people and the development of the economy.

Offering reasons for Guyana’s current economic state of affairs, the Minister pointed to the “illusionary economy” that hindered the development of Guyana’s productive sectors and side-lined legitimate businesses. He also pointed to the previous lack of focus on value-added production but stressed his government’s support for “key value-added sectors such as agro-processing, wood products, jewellery, ICT and tourism.”

The Minister continued, ‘we will engage these sectors meaningfully on the challenges they face in becoming competitive producers or service providers. And we will assist in reducing those challenges. Our value-added sectors will get the support from our government that they need to grow and develop”.

At this point the Minister informed the gathering of a project which will be undertaken by the Ministry of Business to develop an export promotion strategy for Guyana.

The Minster acknowledged that the challenges of the private sector must be addressed with appropriate solutions if Guyana’s many business opportunities are to be exploited, and so he assured those present of government’s readiness and willingness to engage the private sector.  The private sector he said, is key to setting Guyana on a sustainable economic path, supported by government’s policies, laws and regulations.

 

Addressing Guyana’s preparedness for oil, the Minister stressed that it is necessary to develop other sectors so as to ensure that Guyana does not become absorbed in oil nor overly dependent on the resource. He asserted that food security is more important than oil for Guyana.

The Minister concluded his presentation by acknowledging that the oil industry is good for Guyana in more ways than one and that it brings with it many best practices that can be transferred to domestic industries.

The oil and gas conference was hosted by the Guyana Oil and Gas Association (GOGA).

 

 

Full remarks will be uploaded to the site

LIAT Executives pay Courtesy Call on Minister Gaskin

On Monday January 30, 2017, Executives of regional airline LIAT paid a courtesy call on Minister of Business, Mr. Dominic Gaskin.

The team which earlier met with the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, sought the Minister’s views on matters related to regional air transportation.

 

Minister Dominic Gaskin[R] with Ms. Julie Reifer-Jones, CEO(ag) and Capt. Senhouse of LIAT

The Minister of Business who also has responsibility for tourism development in Guyana emphasized the link between tourism development and reliable transportation in the region.

He disclosed that all the aggressive marketing of the country would not bear any fruit if there is no corresponding transportation network to get tourists to the destination efficiently.

The Minister pointed out that Guyana, known for its rich bio-diversity and eco-tourism, is an excellent complement to the rest of the CARICOM region’s sun and sand tourism, therefore the need exists for multi-destination options. He stressed that there needs to be more options for travelers, better connections and reliability in order to support Guyana’s tourism development drive.

Destination Guyana represents a very important market for LIAT and one that the company is keen on growing.

Minister Gaskin meets UN Representatives to Discuss Guyana-UN 2017 Country Implementation Plan

On Thursday January 19, 2017, Minister Dominic Gaskin met with officials from three(3) United Nations agencies in Guyana to discuss the Guyana-UN 2017 Country Implementation Plan.

Minster Gaskin in discussion with Representatives from UNDP, UNICEF and FAO

At the meeting it was agreed that the agencies would compare work plans for the year 2017 to see whether there are areas for collaboration and to action those areas.

In 2016, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provided assistance to the Ministry of Business to complete its 2016-2020 strategic plan which will guide the work of the ministry up until the year 2020.