By Nateshia Isaacs
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (DPI) – The government of Guyana is working to help stimulate local small businesses and farmers through several initiatives including small business grants and training.
Over 500 persons have already applied to benefit from COVID-19 relief grants set apart by the Ministry of Business’ through the Small Business Bureau.
Speaking during an interview with the Department of Public Information, minister of business Haimraj Rajkumar explained that a new agency has been set up to organise assistance for small businesses and farmers.
The Coordinating Agency for Small Enterprises (CASE) was established under the leadership of president David Granger and is aimed at supporting farmers and small business owners and employees.
“CASE, is comprised of agencies from the ministry of business and the ministry of agriculture and part of its responsibility is to develop measures to alleviate poverty, create employment, stimulate domestic production and consumption of locally produced goods,” minister Rajkumar explained.
He noted that the coalition government is encouraging citizens to buy more locally produced products to support small businesses and to stimulate Guyana’s economy.
“We recognize that our small businesses, our farmers, their main activity is farming, agro-processing; producing, manufacturing … so we must boost their activity; produce more locally. Therefore, we are encouraging our citizens to buy more locally-produced items and in doing so you will indirectly support our local industry.”
The council of ministers has approved the use of local products procured from small businesses, farmers and agro-processors for use by the Civil Defense Commission during their hamper relief distribution exercises.
Minister Rajkumar further noted that the amounts that will be allotted to businesses will depend on the nature and size of the business.
While COVID-19 has impacted the business sector, the grants are intended to serve as a stimulus for small businesses to stay afloat and can be used to offset expenses, pay staff, purchase supplies etc.
Application forms can be found on the Bureau’s website www.sbb.gov.gy or their Facebook Page ‘small business bureau Guyana’.