President Dr. Irfaan Ali on Wednesday said that public-private partnerships are integral to the progression of Guyana and should be the cornerstone of development going forward.
The President’s appeal was part of an address to a Private Sector Commission (PSC) business forum held under the theme ‘The Private Sector in an emerging Guyana’ at the Pegasus Hotel, in Kingston, Georgetown.
There, the Head of State pointed out that partnerships need not only be transactional or project ties but should become more established.
“We build policies together, we solve problems together, and we look at opportunities and open those opportunities. The local private sector has shown us that they have the ability to take the risk, and they have the wherewithal to make the investments,” the President outlined.
The private sector was reminded that the government is pursuing a development agenda that caters for strong local private support, which will, in turn, benefit all citizens.
“There is no apology about this policy. Any company that is operating here must understand that they’re operating here not only for their own profit, which is important, which is fair but also for the development and advancement of Guyana and Guyanese— that is critical.”
This structure, the President noted, is not only for the oil and gas sector but for all other sectors in the country.
“That is what we have to discuss today. How do we ensure the new economy involves you? And how do you ensure you get involved in the new economy? It’s two sides of the same coin. I expect that when we sit here together that you can bring ideas to the table, you can bring projects to the table, and we can work on making decisions together; that is important.”
In providing some insight into the engagement, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Timothy Tucker indicated to the News Room during an interview that the Chamber is in full support of the call.
He explained that President Ali emphasised the importance of local businesses forming consortiums as it will give them an edge with the kind of investments Guyana will see in the coming months and may even transform it into an international private sector.
“The President insists that local private sector, learn to work together. We have to, by all means, come together [because] but it’s a benefit for us and the country as a whole,” the GCCI President said.
“We have to trust each other, right, we have to rely on each other, and we have to work together and that is the only way the private sector would be able to build itself to be an international private sector,” Tucker told the News Room.
The GCCI President was keen to point out that one of the main reasons why local businesses have shied away from collaboration in the past is because of the small market they had to compete in.
“Businessmen have fought tooth and nail for a small market here for 50 odd years…the people in the country is unlimited 750,000 people, of which the adult population is about 550,000 people, and you have to rely on that size of the population to be spread among all the businesses in the country,” Tucker highlighted.
But now that oil is here, and the world is rushing to Guyana, he stressed that local businesses need to be ready and well equipped for the transformation of the economy.
“It is no longer competition between the local businesses…we have people coming in doing the exact businesses that these locals are doing so we reached a point now where we have to stop competing with each other,” the GCCI President added.
“That is the kind of thing that the government is pushing, and it is now our task to make the private sector aware and encourage that kind of development.”
The GCCI President added that the Chamber will soon be releasing a document that reflects the concerns of the private sector and solutions to better aid collaboration.