The year 2016 has been a “busy one” for the Ministry of Business, according to Minister of Business with the responsibility for Tourism, Dominic Gaskin.
In 2016, a total of $1.22Billion was approved for the Ministry of Business and its agencies. The allocation was spread over several areas and catered for a number of projects and programmes. The current expenditures for 2016 were $668,564,000 and the capital budget was $547,253,000. The capital budget catered for the infrastructural agenda that provided motivation to attract investment and bring about economic growth.
Strategic Plan (2016-2020)
The Minister noted that his Ministry has managed to successfully consolidate all the responsibilities and mandates of the various agencies and departments into a single set of strategic objectives with the launching of the Ministry’s Strategic Action Plan, 2016-2020.
Facilitators of the Business Ministry’s Strategic plan’s consultation. Seated at the head table from left to right; Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin, Consultant Nathalie Cely and Deputy Resident Representative UNDP Shabnam Mallick
“There are many highlights, but I think for me, I think what’s most important is that we now have a very clear strategic plan, that will inform our work over the next few years,” Minister Gaskin said.
Minister Gaskin, in explaining why the plan is very important noted that, “this plan will help towards improving ease of doing business in Guyana, while ensuring that the correct criteria are made.”
The Minister of Business emphasised that the plan is the Ministry’s, and is not a national one; and will address investment promotion, work force enhancement, sustainable development and export promotion.
The five strategic goals set out by the Ministry of Business in the Strategic Action Plan are to:
Improve the ease of doing business in Guyana
Attract increased foreign investments in the economy
Support the development and export of value-added industries,
Increase the economic opportunities and capabilities of vulnerable groups and to
Expand capacity to develop and promote sustainable business-friendly policies
Minister Gaskin explained that almost everything in the Ministry’s plan is geared towards improving Guyana’s economic performance; the business environment and competitiveness. It is also targeted at creating an investment promotion strategy and value-added export strategy and small business development, all of which are expected to contribute to enhanced economic performance.
Businesses are the major source of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), income, investments and jobs in Guyana, and will therefore be central
Small Business Bureau signs MoU with 12 organisations to train young entrepreneurs
to securing the economic growth needed to drive the country’s future, Gaskin stated.
The Ministry of Business’ strategic plan was officially launched on October 27, 2016.
Minster Gaskin told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that there were a number of other achievements such as the successful hosting of GuyExpo 2016; and that the agencies in the Ministry have been performing well.
“We made a number of key appointments in terms of boards and councils and other appointments at the leadership levels at all of our agencies. All of which have brought about significant improvements in the way that the Ministry has been functioning, and also in terms of accountability,” Minister Gaskin said.
Minister Gaskin said that the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) has been receiving a lot of compliments from various investors. He noted that management and the employees have been working diligently to facilitate investors, pointing out that the agency has been going the extra mile to assist them with relevant information, and also getting concession agreements facilitated as efficiently as possible.
Bureau of Standards
This is another agency which falls under the Ministry of Business. Minister Gaskin said that the Bureau has been doing tremendous work in developing and promoting standards, and the use of standards for business. “There is a lot more that goes into the work that they do, monitoring compliance and providing testing facilities for numerous industries and they have been doing a lot of work, very commendable,” Minister Gaskin said.
Small Business Bureau (SBB)
This agency has been spreading itself all across Guyana, with outreaches in all of the regions. Minister Gaskin said that the agency is working persistently to ensure Guyanese small businesses benefit from the Micro and Small Enterprise Development Project. This is a project where businesses can access loans, grants, interest subsidies and training.
The Business Minister explained that this department has been doing a lot of work, as well as outreaches, and working on several projects especially in the Industry department. The department has been working on completing several projects, which were started a few years ago under the Rural Development Fund.
“We did a review of those projects last year, and we have decided to modify them and bring them to completion and the Department of Industry has been working on getting those projects completed, as well as working on the industrial estates,” Minister Gaskin said. He added that a lot of work has gone into the Industrial Estate in Lethem.
Minister Gaskin pointed out that Guyana is ready for business and encouraged investors to come and experience all that Guyana has to offer.
Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Office for Investment (at podium), Owen Verwey, explains to potential investors the investment opportunities available in Guyana