GMSA calls for better infrastructure, lower transportation costs for farmers, business owners
The Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA) on Friday sounded the need for better roads and other infrastructure to reduce transportation costs; the government has said projects are ongoing across the country.
President of the Association Rafeek Khan said the cost of transportation is sometimes more than 50 per cent of the value of goods and services being transported to markets or factories.
While noting the infrastructural works ongoing across the country, Khan said farmers and local producers are still faced with challenges.
Khan was speaking at a business luncheon on Friday at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown. The focal point of the discussion was plans to improve public infrastructure in Guyana’s Oil and Gas Economy.
“The cost for infrastructure, getting in to where we need to go regardless if it is primary production or tourism, it is high,” Khan stated.
The Association is calling on the government to provide an environment for easier trade, both locally and regionally.
Khan also stated the authorities must not neglect to prioritise what they do not experience such as farmers transporting produce to the market using deplorable roads.
“Sometimes we don’t realise what it takes to get the products from the farms whether it is North West, the Rupununi, Essequibo and bring it to the regions; sometimes a product comes here and before it reaches here a significant percentage of it is spoilt, so infrastructure cost is significant,” Khan said.
He further called on the government to build infrastructure that will last and withstand the climate here.
Minister within the Ministry of Public Works Deodat Indar in response said the government has infrastructural projects ongoing all across the country. These projects he said is in keeping with the People’s Progressive Party manifesto.
Additionally, Minister Indar stated that the government has removed VAT from hinterland travel.
However, there are still complaints from citizens about the high transportation costs. He said the government is working with the local operators to rectify this issue.