– lobbies local companies to seek int’l partners to capitalise on opportunities
Long-standing executive of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Paul Cheong, was on Thursday re-elected to serve another term as chairman of the organisation and will be continuing to push Guyanese companies to partner with international players in order to tap into the abundance of business opportunities available here.
The PSC held its 30th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown, where its council elected the Executive Members of the Commission to serve the 2022-2023 period.
In addition to Cheong, Ramesh Dookhoo was also re-elected as Honorary Secretary while Komal Singh will also return as Treasurer.
However, the PSC elected a new Vice Chairman in the person of Ryan Alexander. He replaces Krishnand Jaichand, who was appointed to that post in 2021.
In his Chairman report, Cheong remarked that over the past year under his leadership, the PSC continued with efforts to promote a culture of collaboration and joint ventures to access larger investment opportunities.
“We recognise that building partnership is crucial in increasing our knowledge, expertise, and resources to make better products and reach a greater audience. In building these partnerships, our local businesses will remain relevant rather than operate in isolation, enabling the achievements of our long-term goal.”
“These partnerships, of course, are not confined to local companies but include foreign companies, governments, and organisations, which are willing to work with us towards the success of businesses and the economy at large,” the PSC Chairman noted.
According to him, this is evident in the fact that several foreign companies have joined the Commission as Corporate Members. Additionally, he noted that the PSC has been able to forge strong ties with regional and international countries.
He referenced the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Suriname Trade and Industry Association, which give birth to the Guyana- Suriname Business Council that was established in March this year. A similar partnership was built with Barbados, which will be hosting a Guyanese delegation later this month to further explore trade talks.
Moreover, the PSC Head pointed out that they are currently working with the Bilateral Chamber of Commerce in Houston, Texas, to establish an agreement to further strengthen the relations between the private sectors of Guyana and the United States. The Chinese Chamber of International Commerce has also expressed interest in an MOU with the Commission to create mutual trade and investment opportunities.
Cheong noted that these are also possible through the passage of the Local Content Legislation last December that guarantees Guyanese and locally-owned businesses to reap the benefits of the rapidly growing economy.
Further, the PSC Chairman also spoke of cooperation with the Guyana Government, which he lauded for adopting some of the organisation’s recommendations in its 2022 National Budget. He said while not all of the proposals were taken onboard, the budget caters for public investments such as infrastructure enhancement that would drive private sector development.
“The Private Sector Commission is very optimistic about Guyana’s future, given that the government has already laid the foundation for massive economic growth, expansion of the private sector and the creation of jobs with the plans and programmes outlined in the National 2022 Budget,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Senior Minister with Responsibility for Finance Dr Ashni Singh, delivering the feature address at Thursday’s AGM, reiterated the commitment of the Dr Irfaan Ali-led government in support private sector development in Guyana.
This in the face of criticism by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change Opposition, which accuses the People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration of producing pro-private sector budgets. But according to the Finance Minister, his government will continue to promote the growth of the local private sector their collective objectives are aligned.
“This government’s position is that a budget that promotes private sector growth, that promotes the creation of jobs, that promotes the generation of incomes for Guyanese people can only be a good thing for Guyana. And we will continue to maintain a policy framework that is conducive to growth and expansion in the private sector, the creation of jobs, the generation of incomes, and to creation of wealth for all of the Guyanese people.”
“My assurance to you today, on behalf of His Excellency the President, is that you have in this Government, a Government that believes strongly, unshakably, unflinchingly, and indeed, unapologetically the role of the Private Sector in the future of Guyana, and you have in this Government a partner committed to ensuring that a rapidly growing and a highly competitive, world-class, diversified economy in Guyana,” Dr Singh posited.