The government is willing to offer key incentives, including Value Added Tax (VAT) exemptions, on locally-made products should private sector players join hands and push the sale of those products in every supermarket.
This is according to President Dr. Irfaan Ali who, on Monday night, urged more private sector players to collaborate so that all local businesses can enjoy greater prosperity.
Collaboration within the local private sector has been the President’s clarion call and he reiterated this on Monday night at the Private Sector Commission’s (PSC) annual dinner during what he said was a frank, no-holds-barred address.
According to President Ali, Guyana’s tourism sector is rife with business opportunities but local businesses- big and small- must leverage each other’s strengths and capabilities to capitalise on the industry’s potential gains.
“We have designers, people in the interior, who do specific craft, so how do we get the bigger private sector, the larger companies to adopt these folks and help them to push their products?
“How do we get a Guyana lane in every supermarket?
“… the government is willing to look at everything in this lane being totally VAT exempt, or some other incentive. We need the private sector to move in that direction,” the Head of State told the sizable gathering of local private sector representatives.
Such a venture, the President explained, is just one way the local tourism sector has been boosted, and boosted in a way that supports a wider cross-section of people.
Further, he said the country’s tourism is being marketed in niche spaces including as an ecotourism destination that offers tourists the chance to relax in harmony with nature.
So Dr. Ali said the government is keen on proposals to develop Guyana’s niche offering. That is why, he explained, his administration is assessing two tourism-related proposals from the United Kingdom and Punta Cana (the Dominican Republic).
And should the government pattern Guyana’s ecotourism sector after offerings in Punta Cana or Costa Rica, Dr. Ali said the possibility exists that cabins in the rainforest could be marketed for about US$3,000 to $5,000 per night- quite the lucrative venture.
“We have to think big and act big, there is no shortcut to this, we have to bite the bullet (and) we will give the incentives,” he said.
He later stressed, “I want to see the local private sector investing in tourism because we have backed the investment with marketing, with infrastructure.”