GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali said that the ensuing discussions at the government and private sector levels between Guyana and Ghana are aimed at bolstering bilateral relations and generating business investment opportunities.
The president made these remarks at the official meeting between the delegations of government and private sector representatives from Ghana, led by the country’s vice president, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) Tuesday.
Remove hindrances to business development
“This morning is about building relationships, opening up doors and examining possibilities,” said the head of state. “The government of Guyana is pleased to be part of the process that not only seeks to integrate the people of the two countries but, more importantly, to integrate the two local private sectors.
“This linkage,” the president added, “will be important in finding common ground where mutual opportunities can be examined and joint strategies built. He noted that from the level of both governments, there has been clear direction and agreement that their private sectors will be the “engines that will drive the process forward”.
The president also explained that present bureaucratic red-tapes would be removed in order to expedite business opportunities.
“Both governments agree to make the functionaries of government and the system of government accessible to the private sector of both countries.”
Private sector importance
President Ali stated that while the government is responsible for creating the policies and the environment conducive for business development and investment, it is the local private sector that will execute the activities. He implored representatives from both private sectors to have direct and meaningful engagements that would advance the opportunities that they are seeking to pursue.
“Make good use of this opportunity that exists on both sides. It is not only about an opportunity that exists in Guyana or opportunities that exists in Ghana; it is how we combine the power of the twin opportunity to become a dynamic and major player. And this is the level of engagement and thinking we want at the private sector.”
The president stressed that the intention should not only be growing a business in Guyana or Ghana but combining efforts and economies to become a more significant player on the international market. Natural resources, agriculture (particularly in food production and food security) and infrastructure were listed as some of the investment areas by the president, who assured that both governments are ready to “listen, engage and work with you in making things happen”.
“So my encouragement to the private sector is to think at a higher level too, at the more macro level. Be innovative in your approach. It is not about an opportunity; it is about sustaining industries and sectors and combining efforts that would bring real value out of this engagement.”
The head of state also underscored the importance of following through with the agreements and indicated that Dr Bawumia and vice president, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, will work on a framework agreement that examines how engagements, which includes shared prosperity and common outlook, are going to be made.
“How do we work on core initiatives like reducing disparity, inequality, removing hunger, building our capacity to enhance infrastructure, reducing the cost of energy, improve trade?”
The government’s role, according to the president, is to open the door, create the environment and put the necessary fiscal and other policy arrangements in place.
Vice president Bawumia also delivered remarks at the meeting and expressed Ghana’s intention to improve bilateral relations with Guyana. He noted that the recent upsurge in economic growth for both countries has provided a new opportunity and enabling environment for their private sectors to enhance commercial ties.
He added that there is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre to train agencies in Ghana to provide services for Guyanese investors and to assist prospective Guyanese investors with specific information, especially relating to key sectors.
Additionally, he pointed out that the ministry of trade and industry in Ghana will liaise with its local counterparts to establish a Ghana-Guyana Chamber of Commerce.