GMSA seeking multi-level state support for businesses to grow
To make access to capital and resources for the expansion of local businesses easier, the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) has pitched several proposals to the government for support.
President of the Association, Ramsay Ali, during a mid-year business dinner on Thursday night at the Ramada Hotel, Providence said multiple in-house projects are achievable but only with support from the government.
Noting that developing and later expanding a business is extremely expensive, Ali said the association will soon approach several agencies to discuss how they can make access to resources for agro-processors and other members significantly easier.
“We’ve heard that the Small Business Bureau is being reengineered and we are asking that we can be part of that discussion.
“We believe we can add value to the SBB in terms of the way it’s being managed and I’m not stating it’s being mismanaged, because of our membership being a big part, we should be we are asking for a seat so we can discuss a couple things,” Ali said.
The GMSA will also use its influence and position on several boards to promote its membership and pitch its proposals for support, Ali said.
With some 350 agro-processors on board, the GMSA is now considering the possibility of industrial parks. Ali said these facilities that will be designated for agro-processors and will be different from those being developed under the Ministry of Agriculture and more equipped to handle higher levels of manufacturing.
Notably, Ali has over the last year admitted that much focus is being placed on getting members to attend foreign exhibitions but access to capital has been challenging. On Thursday, he reiterated the need for support.
“This is an opportunity for them to really get a chance to grow their businesses and it’s expensive so we are talking to the government about a special budget every year.
“There is an exhibition in St Vincent in October… many of our small agro-processors need support to get to these exhibitions and that’s something we are working with the government for,” Ali said.
Aside from physical resources, Ali added that data must be zero-rated and lobbied for zero-rating on goods that are locally produced. The GMSA has been a massive supporter of the ‘support local’ mantra and Ali used the opportunity to call for local producers to be the first choice when the government is procuring.
Following Ali’s comments, the Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar assured that the PPP/C government is working to create channels to bring relief to business owners.
“Food security is something that the government has been pushing food security climate services and energy is three things that Guyana is leading globally with and we have the programmes in Guyana to support that leadership,” the minister said.
He elaborated that through the construction of road networks, facilities, and the widely anticipated Gas-to-Shore project at Wales, West Bank Demerara, the government is trying to reduce costs.
Further, Indar said legislations such as the Data Protection Bill, Local Content Act, and Single Window Systems legislation are all geared at ensuring that Guyanese’s lives are made easier.
Finally on the agenda for the GMSA as it approaches its 60th anniversary is the construction of a home at Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown valued at approximately $260 million. At this time,the GMSA is asking for donations, some of which were made on Thursday, for the construction of the building.
It also intends to work with Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) to procure a one-off rum set to be launched in time for Christmas.