– Business Ministry opens bids
Government has revitalised plans by the previous Administration to open a plantain chip factory in Leguan, Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).
The Business Ministry, in a local newspaper advertisement, is inviting interested investors to submit Expressions of Interest along with their business proposal for this undertaking.
According to the Government ad, investors should have the capacity to take possession of the property immediately after signing the contract.
The size of the property is 8625 square feet and includes machines such as slicing processors, and blanching, and dewatering, frying, de-oiling, seasoning and packaging equipment.
The move to establish a plantain chip factory, in order to push the local manufacturing sector, was touted by former President Donald Ramotar in the lead-up to the 2015 General and Regional Elections.
This project falls under the previous Administration’s Rural Enterprise Development programme which commenced back in 2014.
These projects initially comprised the construction of two call centres – one in Tuschen in Region Three and one in Enmore in Region Four, and two chip factories, one in Leguan and one in the neighbouring island of Wakenaam.
When the new Administration assumed office, this much-anticipated initiative was shelved.
Just earlier this year, residents were calling on the Government to move ahead with the plan to open the factory to provide jobs for the people on the island.
Region Three Vice Chairman Sheik Ayube had noted with concern the apparent neglect of the project.
Shortly after their demands, the National Budget 2016 was presented in the National Assembly and Business Minister Dominic Gaskin indicated that the project was back on the cards.
He explained that the entire Rural Enterprise Development initiative was put on hold to facilitate a review.
Gaskin announced that as a result of the review, Government decided on some modifications and will complete three of the four projects that were begun under the initiative.
He noted that the building earmarked in Leguan for the factory was constructed with no consideration for how either “a person or a plantain” could get from the main roadway into the factory when it became operational.
Nonetheless, he said this would be addressed by Government.
With regard to the development of a plantain chip factory in Wakenaam, the Business Minister said Government was unable to proceed with that aspect of the plan because the area in question was prone to flooding and erosion, and therefore posed a risk to the entire operation.
Meanwhile, the Business Ministry is also moving apace to open the call centre in Enmore.
An invitation for bids is being advertised for the completion of phase two for the call centre, which would include building works and the construction of external works along with facility.