By Bibi Khatoon
President of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), Zulfikar Ally believes that politicians who want to be in Government need to have a clear vision for the development of Guyana with the coming of first oil.
In his address at the Chamber’s first Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the Marriott Hotel on Saturday, Ally warned against Guyana falling victim to what is known as the ‘Dutch disease.’
“Our aim is to ensure that politicians running for office speak clearly about their policy and programmes for the development of the private sector, the promotion of bilateral trade and their plans and timelines for managing Guyana’s natural resources,” he said in alluding to the recent debates between politicians hosted by AmCham.
He added that “answers to these questions are very important to all Guyanese alike because it determines whether we will likely find ourselves with the Dutch-disease or resource curse, or the country and its citizens will prosper.”
Dutch-disease refers to the negative consequences which can arise from a spike in the value of a nation’s currency. This occurs when a country develops a natural resource while neglecting other commodities, thus leading to an increase in its imports and affecting employment and other factors.
The AmCham President pointed to the importance of a stable economy which is essential for successful businesses.
“For business and investment to prosper, the tenets of democracy, respect for the rule of law, and human rights will automatically lead to stability, predictability and ultimately, private sector growth,” Ally noted.
Ally said AmCham has also started partnerships with the Guyana Press Association (GPA) for training in elections monitoring and coverage.
The Chamber received a charge from United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah Ann Lynch to take part in transforming Guyana into “a vibrant economic leader.”
AmCham, which was established in August 2018, held its first AGM on Saturday; it has a total of 61 members and works to promote better trade relations between Guyana and the US.
At Saturday’s meeting, the body also launched an App for members.
The mobile application designed by Techlify – a software development company founded in 2014 –will serve as a platform for members to communicate with the Chamber. They will also be provided with constant updates via the app.