(GuyanaChronicle)WITH significant investments being made in various sectors across the country by various companies, Vice-President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, has urged the local private sector to broaden its horizons in order access greater financing and be able to invest in the country.
The Vice-President issued the charge during his remarks at the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association’s (GMSA) mid-year business dinner on Tuesday.
During his address to the gathering at the Ramada Princess Hotel, he said that the local private sector needs to explore new and innovative methods of accessing greater financing.
He said: “The private sector needs to improve its financing, its horizon… many companies don’t want to provide and create the structure and the accounts that would allow them to access greater financing.”
Dr. Jagdeo said that many businesses are unwilling to explore partnerships and or become public which could serve as the best vehicle for companies to raise funds outside of debt financing.
He went on to say that a number of other things need to be done in order to access financing, and those include transparent and accurate record keeping.
In emphasising his point, the Vice-President said it is not just about the government providing funding to businesses, but also about the private sector enhancing accountability while broadening its horizons as it relates to access to funding.
He said: “So it’s not just about the government providing a fund to businesses which could happen in the future once the resources are available, but it’s about the private sector taking steps to improve its own accountability at the company’s level and opening up its horizon in terms maybe accessing financing of a different nature… so we’re open to the idea but much more work needs to be done at that level.”
Even as he encouraged businesses to be innovative, Dr. Jagdeo assured stakeholders that the government is doing its part under the Local Content Legislation to ensure that Guyanese businesses benefit tremendously from the oil and gas sector.
He said that the government has already started to look at this as it relates to how to get a greater flow of financing to local companies, some of whom might already have contracts with oil and gas companies.
With that, the Vice-President noted that he has already asked the Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, to meet with bankers and further remedy the situation.
It was then that he added that changes are required in the area of bank supervision rules.
Dr. Jagdeo said: “We are looking at this, we may even need to change the bank supervision rules but we if the current commercial banks are not fit-for-purpose or they are not aggressive enough, we have already licensed one new merchant bank.”
To this end, he remarked that they have also received applications for several merchant banks that will specialise in possibly discounting invoices and even providing limited financing based on contracts signed with multinational companies here.
Dr. Jagdeo said that the administration plans to be very liberal in licensing these institutions and added that within the near future several new institutions of that nature could be seen here.
Meanwhile, with all this said, the Vice-President related that the government is on track to doing all that was promised, noting that the administration is a predictable one that is following a pattern.
“We laid out that pattern and plan a long time ago and we are following it progressively,” Dr. Jagdeo said.
Similarly, he noted that the government is creating a framework which would allow the people and the private sector to access more opportunities by reducing administrative burdens and creating avenues for greater sources of financing.
The Vice-President told the gathering: “We are creating the framework for that that would allow our people particularly the private sector to access more opportunities and effectively utilise those opportunities by reducing administrative burden, creating the avenues for greater sources of financing and providing the infrastructure necessary for them to grow if they put the energy into it.”