Easier for Guyanese to set up businesses now than under APNU+AFC Gov’t – Jagdeo

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The governing People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) says serious work was done in the last three years to reverse the sometimes difficult and burdensome circumstances citizens confront in their bid to establish start-up businesses.

General Secretary of the PPP/C, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, on Thursday told reporters, that it is now easier for Guyanese to set up businesses than it was under the former APNU+AFC Coalition Government.

He was directly refuting claims made by Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton during a recent meeting with Afro-Guyanese on the Essequibo Coast in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).

“He went to the Essequibo Coast and in typical fashion met with the Afro-Guyanese community and preached once again the standard mantra that the community is disposed by the PPP and discriminated against.

“He claimed it is hard for Afro-Guyanese to start a business in Guyana,” Jagdeo said during a press conference at the party’s Robb Street headquarters – Freedom House.

Jagdeo said it is much easier now to start a business in Guyana than it was three years ago.

“If it’s difficult now, it was near impossible under the Coalition government…they sucked the life out of (people),” the General Secretary lamented.

To support his assertion, Jagdeo reminded reporters of the increases imposed by the APNU+AFC to several registration and licensing fees for small business owners.

“Things of necessity attracted tax, like water and electricity and data.

“People who vend from vehicles, their license was $12,500 and it went to $65,000 under APNU…that is the magnitude of the increase for licenses across the board,” Jagdeo added.

He said there were over 300 increased taxes and fees under the Coalition government.  Budget 2023 highlights the continued government support for the local small business sector.

And in a bid to deliver on its promise of creating a conducive environment for private sector investment, the government allocated $584.2 million for the Small Business Bureau and the Small Business Development Fund.

This is in addition to the extensive range of support in agriculture, tourism, youth-based, and women-based initiatives.

Another $327.8 million has been allocated in 2023 to continue development works in Amelia’s Ward and commence works for the establishment of a new industrial estate in Region 2.

This is in direct response to the constraints faced by many small businesses in relation to finding adequate and suitable space from which to operate.

In 2022, through the Small Business Development Fund, more than 1,400 entrepreneurs benefitted from grant financing ranging from $150,000 to $500,000.

This represents an almost 91.6 per cent increase in the number of beneficiaries from 2021 with a sum of $300 million budgeted in 2023 for the Fund to continue assisting small entrepreneurs.

To support quality and standards for businesses, the existing facilities for the Guyana National Bureau of Standards will be expanded to allow for them to provide adequate, accurate and timely services, with $1.5 billion budgeted for the construction of the new laboratory that will commence in 2023.

This new facility, being built according to international standards, will provide industrial and legal metrology services, improving our capacity to promote the adoption of quality standards among micro, small and medium enterprises.

Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh also promised the establishment of a traceability system to address trade barrier issues is expected to be established in 2023 to support expanded market access for our businesses.

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