GEORGETOWN, Guyana – President Irfaan Ali has called on the private sector in Guyana to take advantage of several opportunities for investment as the country continues to attract large scale development projects.
Addressing the annual dinner of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) on Monday night, Ali said his government is continuing to create a wealth of opportunities for the local private sector to thrive and that there was need for more synergy among the group of investors, and more forward-thinking initiatives that align with the country’s development path.
He said the tourism sector for instance is a “low-hanging fruit” for local investment, as the industry is poised for a dramatic takeoff in the coming months and that the government has been investing in boosting Guyana’s eco-tourism industry, combining modern amenities with natural beauty.
He said these investments help to build the country’s already impressive repertoire of distinctive sights and tourism experiences and that increased private sector investment will further propel this growth.
“The luxury of being at one with nature is one that the market badly wants. I want to see the local private sector investing in tourism because we will back the investment with marketing, infrastructure, and fiscal incentives as a government.
“This is an important feature for us. We have developed our own eco brand here in Guyana, one that speaks to a number of issues such as climate and the environment,” Ali told the business group.
He said the government will soon launch the construction of a massive luxury hotel in the capital, Georgetown, to bring a further boost to the hospitality sector.
“We have people who are designers, and we have people in the interior who do specific crafts, more local types of products. We have to get the larger companies to adopt these small innovators and bring them into their business model, and help them to push their products. The tourism sector has major opportunities. We need the private sector to move into that direction and invest in this sector,” he said.
Regarding the agriculture sector, President Ali said the government intends to position Guyana as a regional hub.
“The government is already putting resources into the establishment of a regional food hub, but why can’t the private sector come together and say “We are going to start by being the major buyer and distributor of all the produce in Guyana”?”
He acknowledged that while Guyana does not currently have the production capacity to serve the entire region, the private sector should pilot the formation of a distribution hub to meet regional demands, sourcing produce from Northern Brazil.
“Let us build our own food distribution hub from Guyana by the Guyanese private sector so we can get our food into the diaspora market, and into the Caribbean market.
“We have to move to the position of, when we have excesses, we move to do the processing and the pulping of fruits and all of these things. You all need to come together, create a national distribution company that brings all the produce, integrate with Northern Brazil. We are ready to embrace and support this.”
He said efforts are already underway to tap into several regional and international markets.
“By the end of this year we should be in a position where our black eye beans and red beans are completely produced locally and after that we should be in a position where we take the Jamaican and other markets,” President Ali told the PSC dinner.