Private Sector Commission wants more state sponsored relief to aid business, Guyanese in 2023


See the full New Year’s Message from the Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Mr. Paul Cheong:


Greetings to all,

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy and Prosperous 2023!

I hope you’re celebrating the start of the year in good spirits with family and friends.

As I take a moment to look back on 2022, I want to thank you our members and stakeholders for your contributions over the past 12 months.

Twenty-twenty-two has been a busy year for the Private Sector. Our companies have been working tirelessly to build capacity, establish relationships, form partnerships, and formalize business plans.

We have seen the evidence of growth in Guyana and intend to play a major role in the process.

While we look to the future, we should focus on the opportunities present and those yet to come as we continue to build a better Guyana.

Budget Measures

As Guyana’s economy catapults the nation forward, the need for a vibrant and strong private sector is paramount in meeting its demands. Consequently, the PSC, through its members, has been engaging in consultations for which several budgetary measures were drafted for the National Budget 2023. These measures are designed to bring relief to businesses and Guyanese, directly or indirectly.

As His Excellency, Dr. Irfaan Ali pointed out “we need to be in the race against time, in time”.  The Private Sector needs to keep pace with a booming economy. Indeed, we have made strides in building capacity, but I want to encourage the local private sector to continue in this direction – only then, will we gain the strength to compete.

At the Commission, we have prepared a list of budgetary measures for the Minister of Finance ahead of the presentation of the National 2023 Budget in the National Assembly. These are measures to aid the development of the local private sector and the country at large.

Enhancing the Local Content Law

Advocating for local content in the oil and gas sector remains high on our agenda.

We acknowledge that efforts are underway to review the First Schedule of the Local Content Law and already, through our Local Content Forum held in November, businesses have put forward several recommendations they would like to see incorporated into the law.

That report has been submitted to the Local Content Secretariat and the Private Sector Commission is looking forward to seeing a number of those recommendations taken on board.

Since the enactment of the Local Content Law, Guyanese businesses have increased their capacity to service the industry and continue to do so, so it is time for those targets to be revised to allow more local businesses to provide the goods and services required in the oil and gas sector.

Over the past year, we enjoyed a close working relationship with the Local Content Secretariat, and in 2023 we anticipate continuing that relationship where we can express our concerns and share information.

We welcome the Government’s commitment regarding the drafting of regulations and guidelines to accompany the Local Content Act and we stand ready to work with the administration and key stakeholders to ensure that these are put in place at the earliest.

Even with the current legislation, we call for greater monitoring and enforcement. Only through this will there be compliance and a serious effort at effecting local content.


Public Servants

Improving the economic status of the Guyanese has always received the full support of the Private Sector. The PSC has taken due note of the increment in public servant salaries and commends the Government for having recognized the benefits and far-reaching implications on the private sector. Any wage increase that occurs increases the money supply of consumers. Consumers have more spending power, and consequently, the demand for goods and services increases, fostering increased revenues for businesses which stimulate growth.

The PSC had proposed an increase in the income tax threshold and revised percentages in calculating income tax. We believe that these measures will further increase the disposable income of all Guyanese.  In aggregate, when disposable income increases, households have more money to either save or spend, which naturally leads to a growth in consumption and investments. Consumer spending is one of the most important determinants of demand as it creates the demand that keeps companies profitable and allows for the hiring of new workers.

Labour force

The Private Sector has not lost sight of the lack of skilled labor in the technical areas. There continues to be a high demand for ventilation and air conditioning technicians, diesel mechanics, electricians, heavy-duty machine operators, and drivers to name a few.

We continue to discuss this matter with a view to coming up with short, medium, and long-term solutions. In the interim, the PSC would like to see more collaboration with educational institutions to have the school curriculum revised in a manner that allows Technical Vocational Education and Training to be available to students from Grade 8.

To complement this shift in technical development, the Commission, via its membership, is open to facilitating Apprenticeship Programs to provide the practical experiences to accompany the theoretical discourse in the classrooms. With this approach, Guyana could see hundreds of persons being trained and ready for employment from the age of 16.

It allows them to be well acclimatized to Guyana’s production and manufacturing operations, thereby making a smooth and effective transition to Private Sector operations.

The time has come to create a new Guyana – let us start with our young minds!

Looking Ahead

The Private Sector Commission will continue to play its role in promoting a conducive environment where businesses can flourish. In doing so, we will continue to work with all stakeholders to address the needs of the business community.

I wish to announce that in 2023, the PSC will be hosting a sensitization forum on Initial Public Offering – going public. We believe that having Guyanese companies go public would assist in raising capital to transform local businesses and the economy at large.

Twenty-twenty-three is set to be another busy and exciting year for us. We look forward to working further on the many initiatives to stimulate private sector development.

I want to thank you for your continued commitment and effort. Every one of us has an important role to play in the work ahead and I’m confident that together we will achieve great things.

I wish you and your loved ones a happy and successful 2023!

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