GCCI President Timothy Tucker had agreed with Head of State Dr. Irfaan Ali that the local private sector has not been aggressive enough in pursuing international investment opportunities, but acknowledges the difficulties they face in doing so.
President Dr. Irfaan Ali recently urged the private sector to be more “aggressive” in pursuing partnerships with foreign investors, while admonishing businesses for not reaping the benefits of opportunities provided to them.
President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) agreed that business should be taking better advantage of opportunities provided by the frequent trade missions that visit Guyana,
“It absolutely is true. The local private sector has not taken up the challenge in terms of going out there and presenting the big ticket projects. But there’s also the case in which they have no will to do so because they don’t get the wins in the smaller projects. They’re not able to get access for their receivables and contract financing and stuff like that so there is a reluctance.”
He did however, acknowledge the challenges and issues faced by local businesses that have led to the reluctance to pursue these ventures.
One of these issues is trust.
“We live in a society that people don’t trust each other. There’s a reluctance for somebody to hand Timothy Tucker, the president of the GCCI their business plan to go and present it to one of the development banks. That’s why we (GCCI) were trying to remove ourselves from that area and actually allow the persons to go themselves and do their own presentations.”
He added that this is new terrain for local businesses to navigate, with many of them having never been exposed to such high level partnership and growth opportunities.
Tucker says this will be aided by the recent initiative from the government where Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh will set up a team to work with businesses to develop proposals and feasibility studies, as well as assist them in negotiating favourable terms and conditions for financing.
Tucker noted that often trade missions visit Guyana on short notice and with this assistance the local private sector will be able to stay ready with all documents in order to present to international investors.