Brand YOUth hosts first Tax Reform Forum

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Brand Youth Global Inc. (Brand YOUth) held its first Tax Reform Forum in an effort to foster meaningful discourse on how Guyana’s tax regime may be made more favourable for local entrepreneurs.

Under the theme “Building a Bridge between Capital, Innovation, Policy and Tax,” youth from across Guyana gathered at the National Racquet Centre on Woolford Avenue for the event.

They engaged senior members of Guyana’s business fraternity, stakeholders and policy makers on the negative effects of the current tax system on their business, and more importantly, suggest possible solutions to the impasses that are routinely experienced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s).

The objectives of the forum were to examine corporate tax incentives to spark new investments for social entrepreneurs and start-ups; to encourage companies to shift from sole proprietorship to corporations; to identify and troubleshoot business process time and tax challenges that confront entrepreneurs; and to encourage ideas and recommendations from entrepreneurs.

These were largely achieved through presentations from Guyanese youth including, Dr. Vishnu Doerga, CEO ActionINVEST Caribbean Inc., Ayana McCalman, Attorney-at-Law at the LAWRA Institute, and Eldon Marks, Founder & CEO at V75 Inc. and Nexus Hub Inc. with Joshua Kissoon CEO of Techlify, who each highlighted the challenges and opportunities in their business sectors – investment and finance, art and culture, technology and communications, respectively.

The Tax Reform Forum, which was moderated by CEO of Social Rank Media, Dr. Rosh Khan and CEO of Curl Fete Natural Hair and Beauty Expo, Mrs. Tamika Henry-Fraser, also included feedback from the Minister of Finance, Honourable Winston Jordan; Director of Manufacturing and Marketing within the Ministry of Business, Mr.  Dominic Gaskin; Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Captain Gerry Gouveia, A.A., and GRA Representative Mr Christopher Roberts.

Collectively, they fielded a number of questions covering topics including VAT, Excise Tax, vehicle imports, acquisition of various forms of business licences, and even the liberalisation of Guyana’s telecommunications sector.

The constant thread throughout the discussions was that while there have been significant tax reforms in Guyana in recent years, gaps still remain that hinder small business creation and expansion in the future.

Minister Jordan also noted that the Government welcomes feedback, particularly from Guyanese youth, and encouraged that the session be the first of many. He also invited the group to formally present their findings to the Ministry of Finance for further consideration to aid in instituting viable improvements to Guyana’s business climate.

Organiser of the Forum and founder of Brand YOUth, Mr. Selwyn Collins, noted that tax reform is necessary and urgent if the country is to significantly reduce poverty and diversify its economy beyond oil to include key sectors like agriculture, education, health, infrastructure and technology.

He moreover emphasized that it is difficult to ignore that taxes greatly impact the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, which is why Brand YOUth is committed to addressing these issues by encouraging participation from those directly affected – Guyanese entrepreneurs.

Brand YOUth was founded in January 2018 to inspire young people to develop their personal and professional brand, be committed and innovative, aim for excellence in all their endeavours, fulfil the highest and most authentic expression of themselves, and give back to their communities.

The organisation presented its inaugural 40 Under-40 Entrepreneurial Awards on April 25, 2019, and has since created a community of honourees to facilitate activities such as the Tax Reform Forum and other initiatives to engage, enlighten, empower, and encourage entrepreneurs.

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