Amid concerns emanating from the Private Sector regarding limited access to finance and Guyana’s primitive taxation system, President Irfaan Ali at the Business Development Forum urged leading business figures to grab the opportunities that are already being made available by the Government.
The two-day Business Development Forum opened at the Pegasus Corporate Center on Friday. The event which is organized by the Guyana Chamber of Commerce and Industry is intended to provide entrepreneurs with recommendations and support towards the enhancement of their businesses. It also brings to the forefront a number of challenges faced by private sector entities in the day-to-day operations of their business. Among those hurdles is the lack of access to finance and Guyana’s taxation system which according to President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Timothy Tucker does not encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.
“Our tax system is quite primitive and we need a better taxation system to support business development in Guyana if we intend for our business to move in the industries outside of the oil and gas industry,” he said.
President Irfaan Ali, in response said that while Government has the responsibility of unlocking opportunities, local entrepreneurs also a have duty to not only prepare themselves for those opportunities but tap into them.
The Head of State drew reference to a number of instances where opportunities were made available, but response from private sector entities was lacking.
“We brought a group from Saudi Arabia business investor group, ready to form partnership but we were not ready with one single feasibility study or business plan to present,” the President stated.
Similarly, he said that when a team of investors from Korea came on local shores, there was no feasibility study or business plan prepared to be presented.
In relation to the “primitive” taxation system cited by Tucker, President Ali implored businesses to first be compliant in paying their taxes.
“Why don’t you, Timothy, address compliance?” the Head of State asked.
“If everybody paid their fair share of taxes we will have greater compliance, then we can talk about reduction,” President Ali added.