Guyana is “open for business” – Finance Minister tells Suriname
…as Govt seeks to expand untapped economic possibilities
…and Suriname’s Optiek Ninon opens 1st branch on Camp Street
The geographical positioning of Suriname and Guyana has a plethora of possibilities for the expansion of markets and trade across borders, and local stakeholders from both countries have been urged to capitalise on these untapped opportunities.
Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh took this position on Thursday as Optiek Ninon – a Surinamese optics centre now spanning seven locations – opened its doors to the Guyanese populace.
It was stated that unparallel possibilities are yet to be discovered, as he urged businesses across the border to take a leap and make investments here. Local enterprises have also been urged to consider expanding across the border.
“We would like, at a policy level, every single Surinamese company to regard Guyana as a potential source of supplies, because everything we produce in Guyana could be delivered to Corriverton easily; a source of supplies for your inputs, a market for products, and a destination for your investments. We would like every single Surinamese company to regard Guyana as open for business…
“In the equal vein, I would say to Guyanese companies to look beyond the borders of Guyana and look immediately to the east, to Suriname, where we have obvious opportunities,” Dr Singh stated.
He pointed out that both Governments have been in discussion this week to enhance the economic space among Guyana and Suriname, essentially moving closer to realisation of the construction of the bridge across the Corentyne River.
“Our Presidents have spent the last two days speaking about how we can achieve an even more effective integration, a more effective realisation of the singularity of the economic space in which we live and work… The economic potential is truly vast, and as two small countries, we have for a long time been speaking about the constraints that small countries face as a result of the smallness of their internal or domestic markets.”
According to Dr Singh, as markets become saturated in both countries, the next obvious step would be expansion across borders, and both countries stand poised to welcome investors, contributing to development and creating employment.
The Finance Minister outlined, “We have a reality in Guyana that Suriname is the natural and obvious expansion of the Guyanese market, and every single Guyanese company has an opportunity in Suriname. That, for many of them, still remains untapped… While there has been movement of people back and forth across the river, the economic potential of our proximity has not nearly realised the fullness of our potential. The reality is that you can drive from Georgetown to Paramaribo in seven hours. You can literally work in Georgetown and go back home in the weekends, and come back for work if you wanted to; and vice-versa.
On Guyana’s end, Singh said his Government is working to enable ease of doing business by removing the red tape which inhibits or prevents investors from establishing their ground and offering services to Guyanese.
“President Irfaan Ali could not be more emphatic in his conviction that the Private Sector will be the driver of economic growth and transformation. Internally, in our respective countries, we are committed to making every aspect of doing business easier and simpler; and, right now, work is ongoing to identify ways in which bureaucratic processes can be simplified,” Minister Singh emphasised.
Meanwhile, Suriname’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation, Albert Ramdin, also spoke on the lines of cross-border trade, as he said, “Establishing Optiek Ninon in Guyana is kind of a branding of Suriname as well. We take that as a value that we should not underestimate. We strongly believe that these two markets must be seen as one single market. We have to expand that market – it creates business opportunities; it creates opportunities for growth, investment and employment.”
Optiek Ninon, located on Camp Street, aims to bring a different experience to the optics department for locals. With experience spanning 50 years, General Manager Derrick Klaverwide has said, “Optiek Ninon will bring to Guyana another way of optical services a little different from what Guyana is used to, and I think it will complement what is already happening here. I think we are in a unique position that we already have a Dutch experience of optical service, bind with the Guyana optometry knowledge, and that combined puts us in a unique position to offer a very nice and different customer experience.”
With opening of the new branch, one of the company’s strategic objectives, namely to explore and develop international markets, will also become a reality.
Over the past five decades, Optiek Ninon has characterised itself as an innovative, proactive and progressive, 100 per cent Surinamese company that has grown into a leading optics chain, with six branches in Suriname and now one in Guyana. This new location will be operated by 100 per cent Guyanese employees.