President Dr Irfaan Ali admonished the Private Sector for not being aggressive enough in reaping the benefits of investment opportunities provided to them.
Speaking at the opening of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Business Development Forum 2022, President Irfaan Ali charged stakeholders of the Private Sector to be more proactive when presented with opportunities to partner with foreign investors and boost their ventures.
“I stand in front of the GCCI and its membership two years ago and I challenge you to put together resources in a fund for small business development and the Government will match the fund. I stand before you today, not a cent.”
“There’s an old saying; you can take the horse to the water but you can’t force it to drink. In this case, all of us are horses in the race.”
President Ali went on to state further examples of situations where the Government granted local businesses opportunities to connect with foreign investors and form partnerships but lamented that not a single business plan or feasibility study was presented.
He went on to state that he is willing to work together with local businesses to assist in their development.
“I am ready as your President to help put together a team to write those business plans and feasibility studies for you. And once it passes its test, to send people to the banks with you to negotiate.”
“I say to you today, to move away from this theoretical textbook approach and to move to a conceptual.”
The Head of State boasted of the many areas in which the Government is enhancing multiple sectors, while noting there is still much needed to be done to keep up with the rapid pace of the country’s development.
“We have already recognised that we have a deficit, we have a problem. We do not have enough people in the work force, we don’t have in the quality, in the quantity, or in the skillset.”
“This is how development is. It’s never straight line. We are working now on a human resource plan that is not only looking at training our skill base for today, but training our skill base for 2030 and beyond.”
This is the third annual Business Development Forum being held under the theme "Your roadmap to business development". It was first held in 2018, but suffered a three-year hiatus due to the covid-19 pandemic.
At this year’s two-day forum, the GCCI will award $300,000 to a local entrepreneur who can present the best business plan towards their venture.
The event is facilitated through presentations, panel discussions, as well as a public exhibition and will explore five thematic areas: Access to Finance, Opportunities for Business, Improving Standards and Quality, Doing Business in Guyana and Marketing Fundamentals.