Local businesses and foreign investors on Monday received a commitment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation that irritants affecting the business community and foreign investors will be addressed to allow for a more conducive environment to doing business here.
These assurances were given by subject Minister Hugh Todd and Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud during a virtual meeting with AmCham Guyana – an organization committed to promoting and enhancing commercial relations between the United States and Guyana.
The meeting was requested by AmCham Guyana with pledges of continued support for the new Government to work in areas of mutual interest and build trade between the two countries.
Minister Todd said he believes AmCham is a good conduit for investment between the United
States and Guyana and committed to doing his part at the policy level to ensure Guyana can leverage the potential being afforded.
He told the meeting that the Government is not interested in controlling trade and other cross border business ventures but will ensure that the market is regulated for business to thrive competitively.
“We will not overreach, we will not direct, we will not control the market… we will let the market operate freely without intervention but with good policies and partnership built on trust and respect in the interest of the people of Guyana,” he added.
Observing that competitiveness was low and at a disadvantage, Todd noted that competitiveness must be nurtured firstly at the national level.
He assured of the revitalization of the Competition Commission to “ensure that people are playing by the rules.”
“It cannot work unless Governments have the political will to ensure there is a level playing field and competition is fair. Innovation will also drive others to success.”
He said the PPP Government intends to keep all its campaign promises in relation to taxes and providing incentives for businesses through inclusive policies.
“We will take politics out of the business environment and allow it to compete fairly.”
Minister Todd said too that with the advent of oil and the realization of hydropower in the not too distant future, the Government will be able to provide affordable and reliable energy.
Minister Todd was joined by Persaud in assuring of aggressive strategies to attract new markets while penetrating existing markets.
Todd said Persaud through his portfolio as Foreign Secretary will be responsible for doing the heavy lifting in this regard.
Notwithstanding Guyana’s setbacks, Todd believes Guyana is well poised to take advantage of export markets and attract investment.
Persaud in offering comments was very keen to note that while the Government seeks to improve business opportunities here it is also looking to stem the migration of its best and brilliant citizens and capital.
“That has always been a challenge of Guyana to stem the migration of the best, the brightest and capital… we are looking at creating the social and economic framework where people can see that their future is secured here through opportunities… we will incentivize and encourage persons to remain and build Guyana,” Persaud added.
Another issue of particular concern to those in the meeting was dumping which occurs when a country or company exports a product at a price that is lower in the foreign importing market than the price in the exporter’s domestic market.
Todd said while it remains a concern it remains difficult to prove at the World Trade Organization and Guyana finds itself very challenged in this regard.
He promised that Guyana will look to put in place Anti-Dumping legislation to guard against the impacts of such activity.