Government reaffirms commitment to micro enterprise development

Georgetown, GINA, September 19, 2015

Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the development of micro enterprises in Guyana since this is critical to strengthening and sustaining the country’s economy.

This reassurance given by Prime Minister and 1st Vice President, Moses Nagamootoo, when he addressed hundreds of Guyanese who gathered at the Albion Community Centre Ground, Corentyne Berbice, last evening, for the opening of the 11th Berbice Exposition and Trade Fair.

The event is an annual one, hosted by the Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The objective is to give producers in the Berbice region and Berbice based businesses the opportunity to help showcase their products and services. It also provides these businesses with the opportunity to create links, meet new partners and forge collaboration with businesses outside of the region.

During his address prior to declaring open the event, Prime Minister Nagamootoo said, “Our Government hopes that this expo will inspire new entrepreneurs to come forward and occupy the space for more investment.”

He pledged his Administration’s continued support towards establishing the framework for a level playing field, one which will allow equal access by both local and foreign investors, to concessions and grants for the development of their businesses.

“Our Government recognizes that entrepreneurship is necessary in getting young people into small businesses as self-employers and as creators of wealth. We recognize also, that Government must play a key role in ensuring that local investors enjoy the same benefits and concessions as foreign investors,” the Prime Minister stated.

In his address, Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, congratulated the Chamber for again hosting the event. He noted that it is one which has become a permanent feature on the regional and national calendar of activities. It is also an activity, which the local businesses look forward to, as this provides them with the ideal opportunity to market their products and broaden their client base.

“It is also an opportunity to create feedback on the respective products and to see how these can be improved if necessary. It also serves as a good opportunity for many of our small businesses who cannot afford to advertise, this is a really good event,” the Minister of Business explained.

Over the years the Berbice Expo and Trade fair has provided support for the region’s economy since more persons visit the region and spend their monies, and so end up supporting the regional and national economy.

“Our Government will encourage the development of this event as it looks towards economic diversification and encouraging broader participation in profitable economic activities,” Minister Gaskin emphasized.

The Minister stated that the country’s economic space must be accessible to all Guyanese regardless of race, colour, creed, gender, political persuasion or otherwise. He pointed to the need for the development of the secondary and tertiary sectors to diversify the country’s economy.

The role of the private sector in such a process was highlighted, and the Minister explained that it is important for Guyana to have a vibrant, independent and innovative private sector. This, he explained, can lead to collaborating with Government and other stakeholders, through an ongoing structured engagement focused on creating a long-term plan for the country’s economic development. Minister Gaskin committed his Government to this process.

In this regard, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Major General Ret’d, Norman McClean, in his address to the audience, pledged support for the event and explained that such events are essential in the development of the economy and business in Guyana. He is of the view that there is significant potential for the development of Berbice. He called on all stakeholders to join in building this process for success.

President of the Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce, Tajpaul Adjodhea, told those gathered that, over the years the Berbice Expo has created much excitement in the region and this year’s activity will not disappoint, as there are more participating businesses when compared with the previous year.

He is of the view that this year’s theme, ‘fostering national pride, advancing economic progress’ was strategically chosen so as to keep in line with the coalition government’s national effort to foster a cohesive society for national development.

“As Guyanese we all have to work together to continue to move this country forward. Economic progress is vital to transforming our nation towards a developed status. We sincerely hope that events like these will continue to help businesses and young entrepreneurs develop and grow,” he stated.

Approximately 90 companies are participating in the four-day 2015 Berbice Exposition and Trade Fair, which is ongoing at the Albion Community Centre Ground, Corentyne Berbice, Region Six. The activity commenced September 18 and will conclude on September 21. The booths and businesses participating include; food and beverage companies, cosmetics, banking services, and Government agencies among others. There are also the usual activities of providing games and entertainment for the visitors.

Over the years, the Berbice Expo has attracted in excess of 20,000 visitors. The event is supported by the Government of Guyana, through the Ministries of Business and Tourism.

The top six performers of the Region at the National Grade Six Assessment were presented with awards, trophies and prizes prior to the conclusion of the opening programme last evening. These prizes were handed over to the students by Mrs. Seeta Nagamootoo.