Business persons protest illegal importation of Shrimp, fish and chicken

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By Royan Abrams

Scores of persons rearing and selling poultry and seafood in Berbice are calling on the Government to look into the illegal importation of Shrimp, fish and chicken from Suriname.

The affected persons hosted a picketing exercise on Friday, February 17, 2017, in front of the office of the Prime Minister’s Representative in Berbice.

News Room was told that persons who rearing these commodities to provide for their families are finding it difficult to compete with the illegal shrimp, fish and Chicken being imported from Suriname and being sold at a cheaper price. This also affects their ability to repay loans taken to upkeep their businesses.

One man explained that they are calling on the government to stop this illegal trade since they are now finding it hard to send their children to school.

News Room understands that the illegal trading across the Suriname border has been ongoing for years resulting in the government losing revenues. However, efforts by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to curb the issue have proven futile.

Following their demonstration, the protesters met with the Prime Ministers Representative Gobin Harbhajan who urged them to setup a meeting with the head of the GRA to have the issue address. He also noted that he will brief the Prime Minister on the matter.

“These illegal trade not only included fish, chicken and shrimp it also include household electronics, food stuff, agriculture chemicals, liquor, cigarette and almost anything that has a tax difference. This is causing unfair competition for business that is doing legal business” he noted.

Along this line, it was noted that the intended meeting with the GRA will look at ways in which the local businesses can benefit from lower taxes which will in term see lower prices for commodities and discourage smuggling across the border.

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