President of the Guyana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Mr. Clinton Urling has disclosed that the body will be paying more attention to proposals geared towards attracting foreign investment. More importantly, Urling stressed that the government owned agency, Go-Invest needs strengthening immediately.
GO-Invest is an organization which provides advice and concessions when necessary, to investors who are looking for the best way to start a business in Guyana.
It also enables entrepreneurs from around the globe to tap into the wealth of trade and investment opportunities available in the country.
Keith Burrowes is the current Chairman of this key investment agency.
However, Urling explained that this call comes in light of the fact that the company has been staggering in its ability to perform effectively and efficiently. While Burrowes is the current Chairman, Urling stressed that the investment company needs an immediate change in leadership. He also piloted the call for an immediate review of the company’s objectives and method of approach to its projects.
He added, “Even certain mega projects should be removed from the company and placed under one body, preferably the National Competitiveness Council. I would also suggest the setting up of an Implementation Unit to further assist the body in fulfilling its mandate.”
Due to the amount of political rivalry that has been so evident last year, Urling said that a lot of projects fell on the sideline and as such, they were not given the attention and priority status that they required.
He added, “We also need a consultation body to deal with these projects so that more input can be had.”
In addition, the National Competitiveness Strategy report even recommended that the mandate of Go-Invest be revised in order to maximize the efficiency of the company’s role in incentive administration, among other key functions.
The report explained that the agency has an important role to play since it is serves as a bridge between government and businesses on the interest of investment and export related issues.
It said as well that, “As the international economic environment evolves, and Guyana increasingly needs to compete globally instead of regionally, GO-Invest will have to change further.”
However, in an interview with this publication last year, Mr. Burrowes had explained that the agency was unable to carry out its current mandate due to a lack of resources.
He had also mentioned that the company has the ability of accomplishing more than it had since its establishment. But this he said can only be changed if it were furnished with the necessary assets.
Also supporting the call for the strengthening of the company and the change of its leadership was financial analyst, Mr. Ramon Gaskin.
Gaskin posits that the company is failing due to its lack of human resources and that it’s Chairman, in particular, is in charge of too many companies. “Mr. Burrowes cannot handle the load and the pressure that comes with reforming such a company. He has too many jobs to deal with. This in itself prevents him from having the time to adequately deal with Go-Invest. He holds over four major positions in major companies across Guyana and that is apart from his position at Go-Invest. The company has been stunted for some time.”
Moreover, “There needs to be the implementation of an Investment Review Agency that is set up by Parliament. This Agency would be able to manage investment proposals both local and foreign. Guyana needs such an agency with clear roles on how investment proposals are to be approved. Such a change is necessary for Guyana and for the government owned agency or else the organization will just continue to slide down the slope of failure until it turns into a derelict that serves no purpose at all.”