Financing, NIS, GRA pose continuous challenges for local businesses – GCCI annual report


Recognising that financing challenges remain a major hurdle for businesses in Guyana, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in its annual (2023-2024) advocated for the diversification of financing sources.

Efforts were made to encourage partnerships and consortiums among businesses to access larger loans, the report stated.

“In 2023, the GCCI met with a number of financing and investment organisations interested in providing various financing facilities, however the high minimum loan amounts offered by many of these organisations poses a problem for micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs),” the report noted.

The report explained that by pooling resources and expertise, these businesses can overcome the financial barriers that hinder their growth and development.

Additionally, towards diversification of financing sources, GCCI instigated exploring the largely untapped financing possibilities in capital markets.

Other challenges include interactions with key agencies responsible for critical business transactions and documentation, such as the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).

According to the report, “the Chamber was able to arrange a meeting with the NIS General Manager and other management officials, where it was noted that NIS has a data management issue, and the Chamber advocated the need for NIS to utilise technology, and understand their mandate to serve the business sector efficiently.”

Similarly, the GCCI raised concerns with GRA and the GCCI during an engagement with the authority.

In 2023, GCCI collaborated with the Jamaican Stock Exchange (JSE) to successfully host Guyana’s first Investments and Capital Markets Conference. Beyond this event the GCCI has been actively engaging with the JSE to explore the potential for the formation of a private sector-led securities market. This initiative aims to provide businesses, including MSMEs, with another avenue for raising capital and accessing investment opportunities, promoting economic growth and sustainability in the region.

Meanwhile, in 2023, the GCCI continued its advocacy efforts in the banking sector, addressing issues faced by its members, including foreign exchange shortages.

“This was done by communicating with the banks and other stakeholders in the financial sector. The GCCI received many complaints from the membership about the issue of foreign exchange, with a particular shortage of US currency,” the report stated.

In September 2023, the GCCI joined other local business support organisations at a meeting with Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh, Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr. Gobind Ganga, and members of the Guyana Association of Bankers Inc (GABI). Discussions focused on the regulation of the banking sector, gaps in the banking institution, and interactions between the private sector and the banking association.

Meanwhile, the GCCI reaffirmed its commitment to promoting local content within Guyana, advocating for businesses to respect local content despite issues of “fronting.”

“The Chamber continued to work with the Local Content Secretariat to add value and garnered valuable feedback from the membership on recommendations to strengthen the Act, and policies to bring about any clarification that is required for businesses to better position themselves,” the report stated.

During monthly meetings last year with the Local Content Secretariat, the GCCI continually updated the Secretariat of complaints received, campaigned for policies to address gaps, and called for companies coming into the sector to adhere to existing rules and policies.

GCCI’s active involvement in the Local Content committee led to recommendations for 10 new areas and 25 amendments to existing ones.

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