Days before the Government present its 2020 ‘Emergency Budget’ President of Guyana Dr Irfaan Ali said a range of incentives will be announced to help the private sector invest in the local economy.
Speaking during the opening of the 28th Annual General Meeting of the Private Sector Commission on Monday, President Ali said the relationship between the Government and the business sector will be significantly improved.
“We will be announcing a set of incentives for local investment in health, local investment in education, local investment in environmental services, local investment in manufacturing, tourism, processing, livestock, agriculture, technology, financial services and of course infrastructure,” the President said.
The meeting was held virtually and was also attended by several Diplomats here.
President Ali spoke of the energy sector and environmental services as well as local content noting that these are all areas which will be explored to foster collaboration.
The Head of State noted that his administration will do more to reduce the time for permits, business registration, export services among other areas.
“The opportunity that lies ahead for Guyana gives us an opening for a new approach, a results-driven approach to private sector advancement and development,” he told those gathered during the virtual meeting.
The President assured that his Government will be responsive to the needs of the private sector.
One of the issues that have been plaguing the business sector for many years and also deter investors is the cost of electricity.
He said the Government is looking to reduce the cost of energy by 60% over the next three years with the use of hydro projects and solar energy.
“The objective here is to bring down the cost of energy in three years’ time by almost 60% so we must have a net surplus of energy, a net surplus of energy to develop a manufacturing and processing sector,” the President noted.
The People’s Progressive Party Government prior to 2015 has plans on its agenda the Amaila Falls Hydropower project.
“We’re committing to having the hydro project back on the agenda supported by a natural gas facility and also alternative energy programmes for the hinterland and riverine communities,” he said.
All of these projects will be known to the private sector as they come on stream, the President said it is impossible for businesses to plan their projects if they are unaware of future plans.
Outgoing Chairman of the PSC, Gerry Gouveia in his statement also charged his successor to sit with the Government and plan ahead.
“As we look to the future, the issue of having a new developmental strategy that is based on current objective realities…we need to sit again around the table with all stakeholders to craft a national competitive strategy and see what is affecting Guyana’s competitiveness and so that we can have a roadmap on what the future will look like,” Gouveia said.
He added that an industrialization plan should also be looked at.
Gouveia announced that he will not be available to head the PSC sector as he has taken up an advisory position to the President.
The businessman was appointed Advisor on national security and this was announced at the weekend.