Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, responding to a statement made by the Private Sector Commission (PSC) in which the body articulated a ‘lack of confidence in the manner the Government is managing the economy,” has expressed disbelief that the group would make such a pronouncement about the less than two-year-old, Coalition government.
The Minister said that the statement is coming after a prolonged period during which the PSC was extremely reluctant to even offer the mildest of criticisms against the PPP/C administration.
Minister of Business and Tourism, Dominic Gaskin
Minister Gaskin said that he welcomes the transformation in the PSC, noting that, “It tells me that they have finally found their voice, and I think that is to the credit of our government, that we have created the political and business environment in which they, the private sector no longer operates with its tail between its legs.”
The Business Minister believes that Guyana needs a strong and independent private sector, and pointed out that such a sector will be able to speak out against issues in the interest of their members.
Minister Gaskin said he disagrees with part of the PSC’s statement which states that, the present trajectory in which the country is headed at the moment, does not inspire investors. He pointed out that Guyana has an indication that investors are confident in the path in which Guyana is heading.
Minister Gaskin explained that he has sent a formal proposal for the establishment of a public private dialogue body that would represent a forum for structured dialogue between the public and private sectors on matters of economic importance. However, the Minister pointed out that he has not received any response to date.
The Minister said that he has been in opposition politics long enough to recongise the strategic value of a strong statement or announcement of, “No Confidence in the Government” by the private sector. This particular statement is coming at a time when the spotlight is on Guyana, and it resembles more of a carefully thought out political move than simply advocacy by a business supporter organisation, Gaskin said.
“There is an old saying that says if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and smells like a duck, well then it is a duck,” the Business Minister said.
Minister Gaskin said that he looks forward to and welcomes further and future engagements with the PSC and all other business support groups, especially the Chambers of Commerce around the country. The Minister said that there is a lot of work to be done, and he is prepared to sit and work with groups and organisations to ensure the success of Guyanese enterprises.
Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Director of Economics, Dr. Justin Ram recently said that Guyana’s future is bright, and it is on the right economic path.
Dr. Ram referenced the recent oil and natural gas discoveries offshore Guyana, and noted that with the expectation that commercial production of the commodities is due to begin in a few years, and combined with government’s fiscal responsibility, there is great potential there.
Sharing his views on the policies being put in place by the Guyana Government, Dr. Ram opined that, “the Government is correct in being fiscally prudent, and very careful in how it manages its debt to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio.” He added that this ratio, which declined in 2016, was quite good and government continued to consolidate fiscally.