Canada recommits to developing small business sector

(www.guyanatimesgy.com)

Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr Nicole Giles has recommitted her country’s readiness to help Guyana foster economic growth among Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

According to Dr Giles, SMEs are the unsung heroes of economic development, with larger companies often taking spotlight. Speaking at the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Annual General Meeting (AGM), she said as part of its objective to engender Sustainable Economic Growth in Guyana, Canada continues to give much needed support to local SMEs.

Last November, Canada financed the establishment of a Credit Bureau here, helping to improve business opportunities and simultaneously offering support to small and medium businesses. The Credit Bureau provides information on prospective borrowers and their credit worthiness.

Complementing the Credit Bureau was the Guyana Bank of Trade and Industry’s (GBTI) Risk Management Initiative, which came on stream in February 2014, following collaboration between Canada and the bank.

Comprehensive model

“This initiative will design a more comprehensive prediction model that is specifically tailored for the SME sector, one that is not only based on financial ratios derived from accounting data,” the Canadian Higher Commissioner said, adding that the timeliness of the Risk Management Initiative will help small and medium businesses to take advantage of a plethora of commercial opportunities, including those offered by the presence of Canadian mining companies working with Guyana.

Boosting of the great accomplishments made by Canada, Dr Giles pointed out that Canadian companies are leaders in the extractive sector, both at home and abroad.

“We recognise that more needs to be done to assist our firms wherever they work in the world and to do so using the ‘Canadian model’ that aligns our political, trade and development objectives internationally.”

To ensure the required assistance is offered to Canadian companies operating abroad, last year the Government of Canada amalgamated its Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) into a single Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) to spoon out better results.

Dr Giles said too that Canada strongly believes that a Canada-Caricom trade agreement would bring about further prosperity and sustainable economic growth to both Canada and the Caricom region, and all its citizens.

“We further believe that it would complement and help further develop the regional cooperation that already being undertaken through the Caribbean Single Market and Economy initiative,” she added.

Security

Canada has benefited greatly from its free trade agreements with other hemispheric partners.  It remains optimistic that the Canada-Caricom trade negotiations will end on a successful note in June, opening avenues for Guyana and neighbouring countries to reap the benefits.

Turning her attention to security, the Canadian High Commissioner underscored the importance of security plans in the commercial sector. To this end, Canada and Guyana have chosen to cooperate on niche, key areas of security, impacting both Guyanese and Canadian interests.  In February, Guyana and Canada joined forces to tackle the threat posed by the use of fraudulent documents through the implementation of the Fraudulent Document Detection Project.

“The Fraudulent Document Detection Project strengthens the ability of Guyana’s law enforcement to detect identify theft and document fraud, thereby enhancing Guyana’s border security,” she explained.

Additionally, training was provided by the Canada Border Service Agency, and fraudulent document detection kits were provided by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI).  In addition to the resources provided by Canada, the Guyana Government provided the training facility and a wide range of human resources from the various security services.

“This project will not only help to prevent identity theft and the illegal movement of people through Guyana’s borders, but also has a trade facilitation role by encouraging the quick and efficient movement of legitimate travellers – such as, business people – through Guyana’s borders.” (svetlanam@guyanatimesgy.com)