Placing the Business Industry under the Microscope

January 2, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

In the last 15 years, Guyana’s business industry has demonstrated unbelievable growth and resilience. But since the turn of 2015, there has been a noticeable and undeniable downturn in business.

The status quo has had a daunting effect on the confidence of the citizenry and even investors. So how will this issue be tackled and who will be addressing it?

According to the Coalition Administration, this is the responsibility of the Ministry of Business. Manning this entity is Executive Member of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Dominic Gaskin.

The Business Ministry is already set to roll out a series of transformative measures to stimulate growth and development by 2020. But many have questioned what Gaskin’s Ministry has really done, besides preparation works for the next three years? What tangibles can he even point to that the Ministry has accomplished since its creation?

In the eyes of Minister Gaskin, the achievements have been many. But before going any further, he felt it necessary to outline the mission of his Ministry. Gaskin articulated that the Ministry’s mission, as stated in its 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, is “To create a business environment that fosters innovation, competitiveness, growth and diverse employment opportunities by improving the ease of doing business, attracting sustainable investment, promoting value-added exports and enhancing workforce skills through policy-making, advocacy and cooperation with the private sector”.

Its objectives include the following:

  1. Increase sustainable private sector investment through the design and implementation of a National Investment Strategy and safeguarding competitive markets.
  2. Improve the ease of doing business through the development and prioritization of key reforms and structured national collaboration.
  3. Increase value added production and exports through the development of a National Export Strategy and enhanced quality infrastructure.
  4. Support small business development through effectively implementing the provisions of the Small Business Act and intensifying the services of the Small Business Bureau.


Gaskin told the Guyana Inc. Magazine that the key outputs that will be achieved over the period 2016-2020 are: the National Sustainable Investment and Export Promotion Strategy, a Single Windows Automated Processing System, a Doing Business Action Plan, a State of the Art Laboratory, a Small Business Incubator or Accelerator and a Small Business Procurement Programme.

Since the creation of the Ministry of Business, the politician said that the Government has placed a lot of emphasis on institutional strengthening of its agencies, since many of them were operating well below their capacity and not delivering as they were intended to do.

The Minister believes that well-functioning agencies with competent leadership is one of the ways in which the Ministry will achieve its targets.

He noted, too, that the Ministry’s services are delivered through five subvention agencies and five technical departments. These are the Guyana Office for Investment; the Guyana National Bureau of Standards; Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission; the Guyana Tourism Authority Small Business Bureau; the Department of Commerce, Department of Industrial Development; Business Strategy and Policy Unit; and Department of Tourism and Consumer Affairs Division.

Together with these agencies, Gaskin said that the Ministry has been able to achieve the following results over the last two years:

  1. Access to credit- The Ministry of Business facilitated discussions leading to critical amendments to the Credit Reporting Act in 2016 mandating lending institutions and credit providers to provide credit information to a Credit Bureau. This information will be used to track the credit history of borrowers for future reference when applying for credit.

Further work has commenced for the development of a secure transactions system in Guyana. Once completed and implemented, one of the challenges to accessing credit would be addressed, that of collateral requirements. The secure transactions system will allow for moveable property to be accepted as collateral.


  1. Reduction in processing time for import and export licenses from 48 to 24 hours.


  1. Business registration services have been made available in Regions 8 and 9, bringing relief to business persons operating in those regions who ordinarily would have had to travel to the Essequibo Coast to register a business or to renew business registrations. By facilitating the registration within the regions, the Ministry is encouraging compliance and also paving the way for access to formal financing.


  1. Greater focus on achieving compliance in the Tourism Sector, leading to a gradual increase in compliance, which the Ministry hopes to accelerate in 2018.


  1. The Ministry has been working to build capacity in the Tourism Sector by providing various industry training (customer service, food safety and hygiene, city tour guiding, among others) to operators and their staff. Since 2015, 1,994 industry persons have been provided with training.


  1. Completion of the Draft National Tourism Policy- the Ministry hopes to introduce this policy as the national policy after further consultations with key stakeholders.


  1. Support was provided to small and micro-enterprises- over 2,448 persons received technical (cosmetology, graphic design, photography, orchard establishment, leather craft, climate smart agriculture, among others) and generic (book-keeping, managing a business) training to start businesses or to enter new areas.


  1. Over US$421,000 in grant funding was provided to 301 micro-enterprises and 130 loans to the tune of US$2.1 Million was disbursed under the Micro and Small Enterprise Development Project (MSED) through a collateral guarantee and interest subsidy scheme.


  1. Construction of two new industrial estates with modern features- these projects were inherited but had to be reviewed in order to improve their design. In 2018, the Ministry will be engaging a consulting firm to develop the prospectus and an operations plan for these estates.
  2. Development of two business incubator facilities and business incubator programmes to encourage enterprise and entrepreneurship- The Ministry said it is cognizant of the need for youth economic empowerment to drive our economy and has committed to providing nurturing spaces for start-ups to operate and to facilitate small business growth and development. It anticipates the completion and operation of at least one facility by the third quarter of 2018.


  1. The Ministry has also embarked on a pilot in-school entrepreneurship programme that is intended to encourage entrepreneurial ventures at the secondary school level. 100 students from 15 schools taken from the 10 Administrative Regions are participating in this programme. We estimate that 100 grants, of $30,000 each, would have been disbursed at the end of November 2017.


  1. The Small Business Bureau has also executed a youth entrepreneurship programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the Ministry of Education. 68 young people benefitted from capacity building and grant funding to the tune of US$1,500 each to undertake business ventures.



  1. Investment agreements were entered into for 136 projects valued at $187 Billion (includes public corporations). As at September 2017, a total of 33 of these projects were operational.


  1. Supporting the international accreditation of testing facilities in Guyana to improve service levels. To date, the Guyana National Bureau of Standards has facilitated 3 laboratories to achieve ISO 15189 accreditation.



For some months, there has been talk of an economic slowdown on the business front in Guyana. On this matter, Minister Gaskin said that citizens should understand that the region has been experiencing economic slow-down and Guyana is no different.

Among other things, Gaskin said that the nation’s reliance on primary commodities makes it vulnerable to volatility in global prices which seriously impacts the economy in times of weak demand for those commodities.

Notwithstanding the challenges, he pointed out that the economy has proven to be very resilient. Latin America and Caribbean states’ overall growth projection for 2017 is pegged at 0.8%, as opposed to Guyana’s, which is projected to grow by 3.1%.

While the Ministry of Business is not the implementer of fiscal policies that would largely address economic trends, Gaskin said that his priority remains to improve the business environment through reforms that seek to make it easier for persons to invest and operate a business in Guyana.

That being said, the Minister said, “We continue to seek out opportunities to facilitate business growth and economic activities in Guyana.  As mentioned before, there is high investor interest in Guyana. We have facilitated several trade missions since 2015, two to date in 2017. In June 2017, a Business Processes Outsourcing (BPO) trade mission was arranged and this has been positive for the BPO sector, with local operators expressing optimism about the potential outcomes. This is a sector where a single contract could result in hundreds of jobs being created.”

The Minister continued, “In September of this year, an Oil and Gas trade mission from Newfoundland was facilitated and that has opened up opportunities for joint venture partnerships with local companies. In that regard, GO-Invest recently concluded a two-day joint venture training seminar, which attracted over 200 local companies. We expect that this will put in motion a few joint venture arrangements in the very short-term.”

The Minister added that his Ministry has also been facilitating access to overseas markets for local companies and products. For 2017, 44 companies were matched with overseas buyers.

The Billion Dollar Drug and Pharmaceutical Trade: Past, Present and Future

January 2, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Guyana’s Pharmaceutical Industry is one that has been marred by perceptions and instances of corruption, delayed delivery of drugs, disorganization, overpricing, abuse of sole-sourcing provisions and a total disregard for rules and regulations. In short, it was a conundrum of chaos!

In the past, only selected companies were able to benefit from the procurement of drugs and pharmaceutical supplies for the nation. This was not a perception but a fact that has been spoken on at length by many of Guyana’s most prominent and respected politicians.




Prior to the May 11, 2015 General and Regional Elections, Vice Chairman of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan, asserted that once the Coalition (APNU+AFC) won the presidency, the practice of sole-sourcing of pharmaceuticals would be banished, save the cases where it is actually seen as a necessity.

His comments in this regard would, of course, follow a series of concerns over the years as it relates to the Health Ministry’s continued sourcing of drugs from the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited (New GPC) without using the proper national procurement rules and regulations. This was done irrespective of numerous commitments to cease this practice. New GPC has been supplying the bulk of the medical supplies for the nation for over 14 years.

The APNU and the AFC had also spoken to the pre-qualification requirements for the supply of drugs, which both parties said were changed to such an “unreasonable” extent that it forced only one person or company to qualify for the supply of pharmaceuticals. That company was the New GPC. Under the revised criteria for the pre-qualification of suppliers of drugs and medical supplies, the bidders must demonstrate a profit earning of $1 Billion (US$5 Million) and net assets worth US $2.5 Million.

One of the Ministry’s criteria is that maximum score would be given to those who paid $50 Million in corporate taxes annually. The company with 50 or more employees and warehousing capacity of 30,000 square feet in the city would also get an edge. New GPC is, however, the only entity in Guyana with a storage facility of that size. According to the revised pre-qualification criteria, maximum points will also be awarded in the evaluation process to the applicants who have been supplying the Public Health Ministry for over six years without any negative reports.




Under a new administration, much of this has changed. More than 18 companies can now bid for drug and pharmaceutical contracts. But this fresh wind of change will bring with it its own problems. As the Ministry of Public Health seeks to move forward with the improvement of the drugs and pharmaceuticals system, it will interface with a number of challenges; one being collusion.

In fact, the collusion between moles in the public health system and a few crooked suppliers of pharmaceuticals is what led to the Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, taking a controversial route a few months ago in the procurement of emergency pharmaceuticals for the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

The Minister made the following remarks in an effort to correct misleading comments in some sections of the Guyanese populace. The misguided comments, she said, were in relation to certain documents which were leaked, giving the false impression that the medical facility attempted to purchase pharmaceuticals from Ansa McAl Trading Limited through sole-sourcing.

The Public Health Minister emphasized, nonetheless, that the Guyanese company was one of the four companies from which these emergency supplies were procured. The other entities included New GPC, Health 2000 and Chirosyn Discovery.

The Minister of Public Health said that other companies were not a part of this process due to ongoing probes into their late/ non-delivery of emergency pharmaceuticals for which they were contracted to procure for GPHC during 2016. She said that some of these pharmaceuticals were due for more than half of the year.

As such, she explained that this escalated the issue of drug shortage at the hospital. She explained that moves were made to fast track the purchase of these drugs so as to reduce damaging effects on patients due to the shortage of some critical drugs. “This influenced the decision to seek the green light from the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) for Ansa McAl to provide medical supplies at a cost of $605 Million.”

Lawrence explained that Ansa McAl is one of only two companies in Guyana that can provide the cold chain storage necessary to maintain the integrity of a wide range of drugs which are crucial to the health sector in Guyana.

“Ansa McAl not only air-freighted the drugs (this helped spike the cost to import the items) for the public health sector, but also donated four refrigerators to GPHC to store the emergency supplies at the internationally acceptable temperature of 2 to 8 Degrees Celsius. No other company in the history of the institution has provided cold storage facilities at the hospital, even though at least one of them (NEW GPC) was the sole supplier of pharmaceuticals to the institution for over 20 years.”

The Public Health Minister shared that the medical supplies for Guyana was sole-sourced from that company for billions of taxpayers’ dollars. During that period, she said that GPHC used ice packs to store these sensitive drugs at the facility because the main refrigerator was in poor condition and unable to maintain the exact temperature for the pharmaceuticals, thereby jeopardizing their effectiveness, strength and integrity. Lawrence stressed that she was unwilling to jeopardize the subdivision and the lives of citizens. As such, she did what she felt was necessary.

The matter has since come in for investigation by the newly established Public Procurement Commission. A report from this body has since been laid in the National Assembly.



As it continues to highlight the loopholes within the system, the Ministry of Public Health is also making moves to address the quality of drugs being imported by some suppliers. Senior officials within the Ministry of Public Health said recently that emphasis is being placed by some critics on the cost of the pharmaceuticals being purchased. However, none is being placed on the quality of drugs imported for the health sector the officials stressed.

In this regard, they asserted, “Most of the pharmaceuticals imported are generic drugs from third world countries which, in many cases, are not produced under international standards.”

The Public Health officials said that many of the manufacturers are not certified with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) while others are not approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the treatment of certain diseases. There is even an ongoing investigation into “inferior or bogus” medical supplies which were provided to GPHC by a popular local supplier.

The matter is being investigated by the Food and Drugs Department. The Ministry noted, however, that this is not the case with all suppliers of drugs. In this regard, the officials cited that the drugs imported by ANSA McAL Trading Limited are from internationally renowned manufacturers who are both ISO certified and whose pharmaceuticals can be verified by checks on the WHO website.




The Public Health Minister has said that when it comes to the future of health in Guyana, efforts will be made to have a system that is accountable and transparent.  She added that the system needs urgent and massive overhaul as she found that several procurement officials are not only unqualified for the job, but also unwilling to obey the rules, which unfortunately leads to chaos within the health sector.

Therefore, “there will be slippages and the loopholes will be many,” Lawrence said. The slippages, Lawrence stated, still exist “because health is a rewarding industry and a lure for dishonest folks and venal firms. Hence, many have fallen victim to the allure of dishonest gain.”

“Without a shadow of a doubt, this shortage is man-made and designed to rob the nation of pharmaceuticals and cash… But I am not for sale,” Lawrence said.

The Public Health Minister said that the engineered shortage of drugs in the system meant that drugs that should have been in stock since 2016 to cater for demands in the first quarter of this year were no longer available. She stressed that this has dire implications to the tender process for drugs. She said that she is bracing for a fierce fight from suppliers and stiff staff opposition because they now feel helpless by the fresh wind of change that is brewing in the direction of the nation’s health care system.

The fresh wind of change, she said, has brought open tender; a proper procurement policy which includes computerization of data, storage of vital pharmaceutical drugs under globally accepted conditions and the placement of pharmacists in wards of the GPHC.

In addition, the Pan American Health Organisation and World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) are lending their support in an effort to help develop a proper and accountable public health system. PAHO/WHO is helping to shape policy directions in the areas of purchasing, distributing, storing and monitoring the depletion levels of pharmaceuticals at the GPHC.

Furthermore, Lawrence said that the current difficulties in the public health system are compounded by its inability to forecast forthcoming needs correctly due to its dependence on a pen and paper system which is rarely updated.

Lawrence wants this ended immediately and has promised new measures to accomplish this. The first step was taken recently when she met with several delinquent suppliers at her Brickdam, Georgetown office. “The policy and standards will be rigorously applied to guarantee the safety of the Guyanese people who are my priority,” she asserted.

Confronting Challenges and Opportunities for Growth in the Extractive Sector

December 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

In Guyana, we are often told about our tremendous potential; about how blessed we are by the Almighty to have so many natural resources. We have Forestry, Agriculture, Land, Manufacturing, Tourism et al.

Conceptually, while one accepts natural resources as a nation’s patrimony, the real wealth of a nation is its people. Mineral wealth is certainly dependent on human capital, especially as it relates to accessing those mining areas by means of roads, airstrips, water-ways, vehicles and aircraft. Human capital also comes in the form of suppliers who service this industry with fuel, food, flights and spare parts.

The Government of Guyana, through its many Ministries, plays a vital role in supporting the mining and commercial activities in our hinterland. Without these support services, as we have seen, costs would escalate dramatically. This is often times the case if roads, airstrips and vehicles are not properly serviced and maintained to make this extractive industry a success.

On this premise, we shall begin to confront, as well as examine, some of Guyana’s natural resources.



The production of gold has been Guyana’s saviour for many years. We broke the 400,000 ounces barrier and produced 481,087 ounces in 2013. Then, there was the staggering figure of 712,706 ounces last year; all produced by local miners and the two foreign companies: Guyana Goldfields and Troy Mineral Resources.

While one feels compelled to laud such accomplishments, there is one issue at hand which must be addressed. The Private Sector Commission in its National Economic Forum (NEF) 2016, called for a Green Economy, free of mercury. The Minamata Convention on Mercury has set the deadline for compliance at 2020.

How are we to balance preserving our environment versus production? This will be a great challenge for Guyana. The nation will be forced to move to large scale production using Cyanide, as only about 5-10% of the world’s gold is produced by using mercury and Guyana is one of those countries still using significant quantities of this chemical.

Guyana will have to utilize Cyanide as is done by major companies or other means of gold extraction or production.

In the NEF, stakeholders advocated for mobile Cyanide facilities which would seem to lend itself to the new thrust for syndicates in gold or what is considered as Cooperatives.



This is a fragile product and production from a high in the olden days has gone from 400,000 carats when Guyana traded with Brazil to around 100,000 carats to date. Unless serious investors are courted, which is unlikely, Guyana will remain within that framework.



Guyana now has two of the largest bauxite companies in the world operating within its border lines. At Aroaima, there is RUSAL – from Russia producing Metal Grade bauxite MAZ in the Berbice area. That is a most challenging operation, as it involves mining, drying, trucking, barging and assembling at the mouth of the Berbice River for shipping by 40,000 vessels to Ukraine to achieve some 1.5 M tonnes per annum.

But believe it or not, Guyana is actually under-using that developed resource which was constructed by Oldendorff. This is a Guyanese resource developed by Rusal/ Oldendorff but many contend that it should be used to bring in larger vessels and develop a proper port or container port in Berbice, probably overtaking the Georgetown Harbour.

The other major operation is at Linden, the gateway to Brazil. This is operated by BOSAI, the Chinese Company, which produces several grades of bauxite – RASC, AAG, SCGB, CeGB and MAZ. They have done several great things; maintenance and improvement of employment, investment in the environment by constructing two dust collectors and the reintroduction of an apprentice scheme.

However, Guyana should have witnessed the reactivation of the Alumina Plant by now. The challenge for the Chinese has been two-fold; securing their investment by the ore properties and accessing cheaper power, which would have helped the community either by use of LNG or NG when it comes on stream or hydro. This would give the community in Linden a “shot in the arm”.


This is the latest product development through BOSAI of China which has created a new company, Guyana Manganese Inc. This is extremely challenging and is no ‘cake walk’. Mining and processing is the least of the challenges. Officials have since prepared a flow chart which addresses the priorities. These include the road from Matthew’s Ridge to Port Kaituma, a new port at Port Kaituma, barges to move 1,500 tonnes of ore per day, clearing the canal, dredging the mouth for passage, and finally, shipment to either Trinidad or the Berbice River to link with ships to China.

Cooperation with Rusal/ Oldendorff to facilitate such a transfer is vital so that Guyana could better utilize that facility. The company plans to come on stream in the last quarter of 2018 to produce 500,000 tonnes of Manganese concentrate.



There is an abundance of other minerals with which Guyana is endowed with, such as copper, molybdenum, tungsten, quartz, koalinite, rare earths, tantalite, sand, stone, and we can go on.  Guyana is actually “a discovery of rare earths”.  However, as the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) noted, “the aura of gold has always been heavy over Guyana to a point where little else has been considered”.



Oil and gas is the new kid on Guyana’s economic block. But, in the midst of all the excitement, one should be wary of the massive gift of unbelievable oil and gas from Lisa 1 and 2, Snook, Pyara and now Turbot 1 – some five fields with billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic meters of gas.

By Government’s reckoning, Guyana has resources to last more than 50 years. This is a dream come through and the opportunity should be used wisely. There is already, lots of talk about local content, transfer of technology and other opportunities.

But within that conversation, Guyana needs to consider a Sovereign Wealth Fund to put off funds for the proverbial “rainy days.” It is hoped that oil and gas would not be seen as the panacea to solve all of Guyana’s problems.

Oil and gas, instead, should be the ‘gravy’ or ‘topping’, as stakeholders continue with prudent management to make the best of this glorious opportunity. Whatever wealth comes, it should also be used to support and prop up sugar, rice and other products to make them viable.

Furthermore, the best use of our natural gas will be to generate cheap and clean electricity. This will be very transformative to transport, electricity, manufacturing, alumina and more.


At the International Conference in August 2013, energy was seen as the missing element in Guyana’s development. Expensive energy is the single largest barrier to increased manufacturing, value-added processing of agricultural commodities, mechanization of agriculture, large-scale mining and quality of life in Guyana.

However, there seems to be a growing thrust for large-scale solar farms in Guyana. In fact, the Government has organized pilot projects at Bartica and Mabaruma. BOSAI is considering a large-scale solar facility at Matthew’s Ridge. But this is unlikely to be a fully commercial operation. Nevertheless, it allows special applications for hinterland communications. Many have seen this applied successfully at the IT facility operated by Nand Persaud on the Corentyne, as well as at State House. However, it is claimed that over-time, this will be done on a larger scale.



The biggest potential is the proposed project at Hope Beach Wind Farm. Mr. Lloyd Singh of Guyana, who is associated with HZ of China, has executed a study at Hope Beach but is suffering because of the absence of legislation. Despite the challenges, it will have application for coastal locations and our islands in the Essequibo River.


September 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Presented By Rosh Khan, MD

Trust is more than a nice-to-have, soft, social virtue. It is a hard-edged economic driver. Trust – more than Euros, Yen, or Dollars – is the currency of the new, global economy.
The mistake our leaders make – whether in the public sector, private sector, or civil society – is that they don’t often think about trust in economic terms, much less talk about it or implement systems based on it.
When we look around, we see teams, organizations, and institutions that are mired in conflict. We see a lack of collaboration, cooperation, and communication. This doesn’t happen overnight. It stems from something as fundamental as the lack of trust. And the ripple effect can be felt throughout our entire country.
Some may argue that trust should be a given – a character trait we should all strive for. But perhaps that isn’t enough. By shifting the focus and framing trust in economic terms, one might establish a new appreciation for the concept.
At its simplest level, trust will always affect two measurable outcomes – speed and cost.
When trust goes down, speed goes down and cost goes up. This creates a Trust Tax™.
When trust goes up, speed goes up and cost goes down. This creates a Trust Dividend™.
It’s that simple, that predictable.


Trust is a Measurable Economic Driver
High trust increases speed and reduces cost in all relationships, interactions, and transactions. High trust also increases value – value to shareholders and value to customers. The data supporting this is compelling.
In a Watson Wyatt 2002 study, high-trust organizations outperformed low-trust organizations in total return to shareholders by 286 percent. High-trust organizations also consistently create and deliver more value to their customers through accelerated growth, enhanced innovation, improved collaboration, stronger partnering, better execution, and heightened loyalty.
This customer value, in turn, creates more value for other key stakeholders. Look at what’s happening in our financial markets today, where there’s a crisis of trust at its core. In reality, trust not only makes the markets work—trust makes the world go ‘round.
Take away trust, and everything grinds to a halt.

Trust is the #1 Competency of Leaders Today
Leadership can also be defined as “getting results in a way that inspires trust.” The first job of any leader is to inspire trust; the second job is to extend it. Extending trust is the behaviour that separates leaders from managers. The vast majority of managers are better at managing than they are at leading. As a result, most organizations today—business, government, and education—are “over managed” and “under led.”
Real leadership doesn’t happen without followers, and people don’t follow managers they don’t trust. Managers are not trusted when they’re not credible or when they behave in ways that dilute trust.
So how do we fix this leadership vacuum? It all comes back to the credibility and behaviour of the individual. When a person is not credible, no amount of “take charge bravado” will compensate for their lack of credibility.
We feel this lack of credibility even with those who are “perfect on paper” – hitting all their KPI’s – but yet something feels amiss. It stems from the lack of trust, often represented in what we might describe with our Guyanese creole as, “meh spirit ain tek he.”

Trust is a Learnable Leadership Skill
Trust, the verb, is a competency — a leadership skill that can be developed.
It is a learnable and measurable skill that makes organizations more profitable, people more promotable, and relationships more energizing. The good news is that there is a road map to establishing trust on every level, building character and competence, enhancing credibility, and creating leadership that inspires confidence.

7 Low-Trust Organizational Taxes™
Let’s talk about the 7 Low-Trust Organizational Taxes. When trust decreases: speed decreases and cost increases. When trust is low, relationships suffer, production is sluggish, customer retention erodes, employee turnover increases, stocks plummet and the costs are enormous.
Locally, if we look at the recent Parking Meter Saga, we saw a surge in distrust towards the relevant authorities. The economic effects on the city of Georgetown were devastating. Had the situation been approached in a trust-first manner, through a series of consultations – “seeking first to understand, then to be understood” – we may have had a very different outcome.
Once we understand the hard, measurable economics of trust, it’s like putting on a new pair of glasses. Everywhere we look, we can see quantifiable impact. If we have a low-trust organization, we’re paying a tax. While these taxes may not conveniently show up on our income statement as “trust taxes,” they’re still there, disguised as other problems.

Once we know where and what to look for, we see them everywhere:

Redundancy : Redundancy is unnecessary duplication. A costly redundancy tax is often paid in excessive organizational hierarchy, layers of management and overlapping structures designed to ensure control.

Bureaucracy: Bureaucracy includes complex and cumbersome rules, regulations, policies, procedures and processes.

Politics: Office politics divide a culture against itself. The result is wasted time, talent, energy, and money. In addition, they poison company cultures, derail strategies and sabotage initiatives, relationships and careers.

Disengagement: Disengagement occurs when people put in enough effort to avoid getting fired but don’t contribute their talent, creativity, energy or passion. (In the USA, Gallup’s research puts a price tag of $250 – $300 Billion a year on the cost of disengagement.)

Turnover: Employee turnover represents a huge cost, and in low-trust companies, turnover is in excess of the industry standard – particularly of the people you least want to lose. Performers like to be trusted and they like to work in high-trust environments.

Churn: Churn is the turnover of stakeholders other than employees. When trust inside an organization is low, it gets perpetuated in interactions in the marketplace, causing great turnover among customers, suppliers, distributors and investors. Studies indicate the cost of acquiring a new customer versus keeping an existing one is as much as 500 percent.

Fraud: Fraud is flat out dishonesty, sabotage, obstruction, deception and disruption – and the cost is enormous.


7 High-Trust Organizational Dividends™
But what about the flipside? When trust increases: speed increases and cost decreases.
When trust is high, customers buy more—more quickly, more confidently, and more often. They stay longer and they refer more of their friends. High trust enables relationships to grow, employee loyalty to soar, stocks to rise, and organizational dividends naturally increase.
When trust is high, the resulting dividend you receive is like a performance multiplier, elevating and improving every dimension of your organization and your life. High trust is like a rising tide, which lifts all boats.
In a company, high trust materially improves communication, collaboration, execution, innovation, strategy, engagement, partnering, and relationships with all stakeholders.
Just as the taxes created by low trust are significant, so the dividends of high trust are equally as compelling. When trust is high, the dividend we receive is a performance multiplier, elevating and improving every dimension of the organization. They include:

Increased value: Watson Wyatt shows high-trust organizations outperform low-trust organizations in total return to shareholders by 286 percent.

Accelerated growth: Research clearly shows customers buy more, buy more often, refer more and stay longer with companies they trust. And, these companies actually outperform with less cost.

Enhanced innovation: High creativity and sustained innovation thrive in a culture of high trust. The benefits of innovation are clear – opportunity, revenue growth, and market share.

Improved collaboration: High-trust environments foster the collaboration and teamwork required for success in the new global economy. Without trust, collaboration is mere coordination, or at best, cooperation.

Strong Partnering: A Warwick Business School study shows that partnering relationships that are based on trust experience a dividend of up to 40 percent of the contract.

Better execution: As the local franchise holder for FranklinCovey in Guyana, we use an execution quotient tool (xQ) that has consistently shown a strong correlation between higher levels of organizational execution and higher levels of trust.

Heightened loyalty: High-trust companies elicit far greater loyalty from their primary stakeholders than low-trust companies. Employees, customers, suppliers, distributors and investors stay longer.

So, as a leader, what is your role with respect to trust?
First, recognize the business case for trust – be an advocate instead of an obstacle.
Second, see leadership as “getting results in a way that inspires trust.” In other words, personally model trust through character, competence, and demonstrated behaviour.
Third, align organizational systems and structures around trust. In the words of Campbell Soup’s CEO, Doug Conant: “The first thing for any leader is to inspire trust.”
Just remember: Nothing is as fast as the speed of trust. Nothing is as profitable as the economics of trust. Nothing is as central to leadership as relationships of trust.
It truly is the one thing that changes everything.


(Article taken from the Guyana Inc. Magazine Issue 27)


Business Industry: The Services Sector

September 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Most have heard of the intriguing impact the rice, sugar and gold sectors have had on the economy.
But little recognition is ever given to the Services Sector. This sector happens to be one of the largest in the Guyanese economy. It is even argued that it is perhaps the most loyal when it comes to delivering on tax payments.

But before delving into hardcore statistics, it is important to first understand that the services sector is an extremely large field. You would be surprised to learn that most of the forms of businesses you are familiar with are a part of this sector.
When you think of the clubs and hotels in Guyana, the laundry stores, the taxi and minibus services, the insurance companies, the car dealerships, the shipping companies, the recycling entities, the consultancy companies and even the fashion, security and machinery subsectors; they all fall under the services sector umbrella.
The services sector in Guyana is also one of the largest employers of labour, and companies in this realm also have a noted pattern of seeking expansion. This is the case with enterprises such as Church’s Chicken and Pizza Hut. These companies have expanded by leaps and bounds while providing employment for a wide cross section of Guyana’s labour force.
This booming sector has also received praises for its many successes in reports from various established institutions.Take the Guyana Private Sector Assessment Report (PSAR) for example, which was conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The report says that in Guyana, the manufacturing and the services sectors are significantly impacted by upturns and downturns in aggregate demand.
It said, “Guyana’s largest economic sector, as in other countries in the region, is services. About two-thirds of value-added GDP is accounted for by the delivery of the services that are necessary for the functioning of the economy. Wholesale and retail trade is the largest services subsector, and grew by 35.8 percent in real terms in 2008-12. Transportation and storage is the second-largest services subsector.”
The report went on to state that this is consistent with the fact that Guyana’s small economy makes industrial production for domestic consumption very expensive; this means that as the economy expands, demand is satisfied by increasing imports, which are delivered through retail and transportation services. Construction is the third largest services subsector.
The report noted that, “Construction growth, although modest in 2008-12, accelerated in 2013 as a result of the investment of profits from the mining sector. Financial services, although accounting for only a small share of total value added in the economy, has experienced significant growth (56 percent real growth in 2008-12), confirming that the sector is expanding as the economy grows.”
Furthermore, the report stated that information and communications technology and business-process outsourcing are also expanding. In the past few years, the report said that Guyana has begun to host call centres that take advantage of the country’s low labour costs and its educated workforce whose first language is English. It also stated that the services sector has received the most credit from commercial banks in 2012, followed by manufacturing, agriculture and mining.

Monitoring the performance of the services sector in Guyana is a number of agencies, one of which is the Central Bank.
The Governor of the Bank, Dr. Gobind Ganga, has indicated to the Guyana Inc. Magazine that the sector is a large and important one. He emphasized that dips in this industry could signal, from time to time, that economic challenges are ahead and that certain decisions are required to stimulate activity.
Ganga also pointed out that the Bank’s annual reports also keep a record of the services sector and the performance of its other subsectors.
According to the 2015 Bank of Guyana Report, the services sector, which accounts for more than half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), recorded a growth of 2.3 percent relative to 5.5 percent in 2014.
This outcome was largely due to an increase in activities of the transportation and storage, financial and insurance, information and communication, real estate and other services by 13.6 percent, 8.1 percent, 5.5 percent, 2.5 percent, and 1.7 percent respectively.
There were also increases in electricity and water, education, public administration and health and social services.
The transportation and storage sector expanded by 13.6 percent. This was from a 13.7 percent growth in 2014. The growth was due largely to increased mobility and activities in the transport industry (domestic air and ferry passenger services).
Financial and insurance activities expanded by 8.1 percent from 0.8 percent at the end of 2014. This performance was attributed to improvement in access to financial services and increased private sector credit of 6.2 percent.
The information and communication sector grew 5.5 percent compared to 3.8 percent in 2014, stemming from the continuous upgrading of services in the telecommunication industry. Real estate activities grew by 2.5 percent after an expansion of 6.0 percent in 2014 as a result of the growing housing market. Other service activities grew by 1.7 percent compared with a 4.0 percent growth in 2014, on account of increased tourism and other-service related activities.
The wholesale and retail industry fell by 0.6 percent compared to a 3.0 percent decline in 2014, attributed to lower consumption spending in the economy coupled with lower imports for consumption, intermediate and capital goods.
Furthermore, the 2016 Bank of Guyana Report indicated that the services sector grew by 0.8 percent relative to a 4.8 percent growth in 2015. This outcome was due to increased activities of financial and insurance, transportation, storage and other services by 2.5 percent, 1.1 percent and 5.7 percent respectively.
However, wholesale and retail trade, which accounts for more than one-tenths of GDP, contracted by 1.8 percent. Financial and insurance activities increased by 2.5 percent from a 7.5 percent growth at the end of 2015. This performance reflected slower growth of private sector credit of 1.7 percent relative to a 6.2 percent growth at the end of 2015.
The services sector is expected to grow by 3.0 percent by the end of 2017 due to greater activities in financial and insurance, transportation and storage and wholesale and retail trade by 5.8 percent, 3.9 percent and 2.7 percent respectively. The construction industry is expected to grow by 13.5 percent.

According to the Guyana Office for Investment’s website, fiscal incentives are not available for all subsectors that fall under the Services Sector. However, incentives are available to encourage investment in the following subsectors:

• Medical Subsector

Exemption of Duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) on all equipment and material needed for building.


• Funeral Homes

Such investments received a waiver on Duty and VAT on hearses.


• Education

Medical Schools under this subsector are offered exemption on Duty and VAT of all equipment and material needed to establish and operate.


• Dock Yard and Ship Building

Exemption of Duty and Taxes are available for the operation of dry docking facilities.


• Recycling

Exemption of Duty and VAT on all machinery and equipment used in this subsector.


• Solid Waste Collectors

Waivers of Duty and Taxes on some vehicles and equipment.


• Machining

Waiver of Duty and Taxes on all machinery and equipment.


• Recording Studios (Music)

Waivers of Duty and Taxes on equipment and material.


(Article taken from the Guyana Inc. Magazine Issue 27)


Made in Guyana… KSM: Changing the face of construction in Guyana one stone at a time

September 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

While aiming to provide the best quality of blocks and other construction materials, KSM Investments Inc. continues to make its contribution to the people and the economy of Guyana.
In an era where importation seems to be the going thing, it is apt for Guyanese to rally around local manufacturing companies, such as KSM, in support and encouragement for what can provide a better life for all.
Mahadeo Panchu is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KSM.
This local manufacturer is determined to be the one to bring greater quality of construction materials to the people of Guyana at a reduced price.
He said that he has seen millions of dollars spent on the construction of roads which deteriorate “overnight.” Then, the government of the day usually has to budget and spend more money for repairs.
“It happened then and it is happening now. However, with the arrival of the most modern concrete product plant in Guyana and in the Caribbean, a new dynamic has been created with the concrete promise of physically changing the landscape of our beautiful country and providing value for money above what has been given before in Guyana.”
Panchu said that Guyana now stands to spend less and get more value for any construction job once his products are utilized.
He boasted that each product is produced at an extremely high quality. Panchu said that all materials used in the manufacturing process are weighed electronically right down to the last kilogram.
“So whether we do a small mix of one metric ton or a large mix of five metric tons, all the materials are weighed precisely in keeping with KSM’s secret mix ratio. And all the materials are mixed together allowing for uniformity in quality in each block or paver produced.”
Panchu and his wife Khainwattie were recently praised for their “entrepreneurial spirit” and investment in the economy by Minister of Business, Honourable Dominic Gaskin. This occurred during a tour of the state-of-the-art concrete products plant at Good Hope, East Coast Demerara.
Although its commercial operations in block-making only started in April last, KSM already boasts of many satisfied customers, not only for hollow blocks, but also for the wonderful range of interlocking and non-interlocking stone pavers. Among their satisfied customers is His Excellency, President David Granger. KSM manufactured and supplied thousands of triple hexagon pavers which were used to construct a parking lot at the State House. KSM claims that the President was impressed with the quality of the product as well as the way it was packaged and delivered.
There are at least 16 styles of everlast stone pavers for customers to choose from with varying sizes. There are also 35 colours to choose from.
KSM offers coloured hollow blocks and normal blocks (without colour). Normal blocks are available in sizes 4, 6 and 8, while coloured blocks are available in sizes 4 and 6.


(Article taken from  the Guyana Inc. Magazine Issue 27)

A Critical Look Into Guyana’s Forestry Sector

January 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

With prime, lush forests covering approximately 18.39 hectares of its land mass, Guyana stands as one of the envies of the world. For decades, its forests have been a crucial arm in supporting the nation’s diverse economy, the sustenance of its people and the heart of its climate change efforts.
It has even attracted investors from all parts of the world who often come with an insatiable appetite for its exotic and valuable logs. But like most sectors, it has developed a few worrying problems of its own. These range from corruption, illegal logging; improper management of log exports and wanton misuse of the forests by foreign companies.
The aforementioned issues have led some forest experts to question whether oversight bodies, such as the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), are really doing their job.
It has been reported extensively in Guyana and further afield that while worrying issues abound, the GFC, among other authorities, continue to paint a “pretty picture” about the forest coverage as against the wanton felling of trees by foreign companies.
In an interview with the Guyana Inc Magazine, two internationally respected forests experts, John Palmer (JP) and Janette Bulkan (JB), share their opinion on the Guyana Forestry Commission, efforts by the Government to protect the forests and where Guyana stands with its international deals on safeguarding its forests.

Guyana Inc Magazine (GIM): Over the years, the Guyana Forestry Commission would have provided data and estimates to prove that Guyana’s deforestation rate remains low and that state forests remain protected. But how do you view the process by which the Commission obtained these figures? Is it one that you have confidence in? If not, how do you believe faith can be restored?
JP&JB: Even in the years before the availability of remotely sensed space imagery, the Guyana Forest Department supplied The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with quite good estimates of the national area of standing forest. As such, Money from Norway through the Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) was used to contract a company called Jaako Poyry from New Zealand in 2010 and later Indufor from Asia Pacific to collect and analyze medium-resolution and now high-resolution space-based imagery for country-wide estimates.
However, the analysts have not evidently used either GGMC maps of mining concessions or GFC maps of current logging blocks, thus the opportunity to focus on the obvious priority areas for deforestation and forest degradation appears to have been missed.
Likewise, it is not clear that the GFC uses the international definition of intact forest landscapes. The various arbitrary ratios and adjustments suggested or approved by Norway (NICFI) make difficult any international comparisons of Guyana data with the rest of the world.
It is not the accuracy or precision of the Indufor analysis which is important. What is important is how the data is used to inform and guide policy. So far as we can determine, the data is NOT used to inform or guide policy in Guyana, while practice has continued to be ‘business as usual’, as promised by former President Bharrat Jagdeo in 2009. They have been used by Norway in the arbitrary calculation of aid money support for implementation of the Jagdeo LCDS.
But all is not lost. There is still time for the new members of the GFC Board to request sight of the contracts with Indufor or the University of Durham for external assistance to the GFC Monitoring, Reporting and Verification system (MRVS).

GIM: Guyana is expected to bring two million hectares of forest under conservation. This was announced by President David Granger at the signing of the Paris climate change pact. How do you believe this will help in our quest to safeguard the forests?
JP&JB: This can be classified as an INDC meaning an Intend Nationally Determined Contribution. However, it is our view that the commitment appears to have been devised by Office of the President advisor(s). It is not clear how or why they developed this figure, or what State Forests they imagined could be assigned in this way.
It is important to note that all the forest of Guyana have not yet been allocated to logging companies, and much of the forest within logging concessions, is also the customary lands of Amerindians.
As the Government of Guyana has provided international assurance, and under the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), that Guyana implements the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) with regard to its indigenous peoples, it follows that no such commitment to assign one or two million hectares of forest should be made without the consent of the Amerindian communities.
In addition, you would recall that there is an unfinished legal commitment under the Independence Agreement of 1965 to provide land security to the Amerindian communities. Only about one quarter of the areas claimed by Amerindians as customary land in 1967 to 1969 have subsequently been placed under communal land title.
The Protected Areas Commission appears to be fully occupied with development of its Georgetown-based bureaucracy and management of the three gazetted areas – Kaieteur (61000 ha), Kanuku Mountains plus Shell Beach (730000 ha) national parks – totaling (791000 ha). The wilderness preserve of Iwokrama is about 180000 ha, under its own Act of Parliament 1996.
It is not clear if the Protected Areas Commission has the capacity to identify, survey and undertake other legally required steps to acquire and manage a further one million hectares of national park.
In conclusion, merely assigning National Parks to the INDCs is not the internationally expected ‘additionality’ beyond ‘business as usual’. Leaving the national parks without logging or mining is not the same as taking positive steps to reduce carbon emissions.

GIM: GFC officials have boasted that Guyana has one of the longest and most striking experiences pioneering the international development of payment-for-performance forest schemes. It said that this is demonstrated in the Government of Guyana and Kingdom of Norway, Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and its related REDD+ mechanisms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. But how can one trust such an agreement given the industrial scale logging that is taking place? And if the agreement is intended to further the cause of protecting the global forests, then how does it not take reports on the abuse of Guyana’s forests into consideration? Also, how does Norway assess deforestation in Guyana?
JP&JB: PES schemes which mean Payments for Environmental Services conventionally require the service provider to demonstrate additionality. For example, suppose a local beverage company wants perennial supplies of clean water for its distilleries. Suppose that the water supply comes from a forest catchment. The catchment manager must actively ensure that road building and logging do not result in sedimentation or pollution of the water supply and do not impede the water flow. Such measures conventionally increase the cost of forest management with that cost being compensated by the payments by the distiller for access to the clean water.
Likewise, a REDD scheme requires active measures to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. But this is not what Guyana has done. Guyana has made no policy commitment and taken no measures to reduce deforestation or degradation from logging or mining.
The deal with Norway is a non-standard artificial deal involving a critical emission level far above the actual or foreseen rates. As the website REDD Monitor has pointed out several times, the Norway-Guyana deal is a disreputable piece of ‘hot air’. Why Norway became involved with Guyana is partly explained in the University of Oslo thesis by Heide Bade (2012); it involves internal political ambitions in Norway and is quite unrelated to conventional ideas of REDD+.
There was a stricture against increased logging in the original Joint Concept Note (JCN) associated with the Norway-Guyana MoU. This stricture imposed a financial penalty if the average annual wood production of the six years 2003-2008 was exceeded in any of the years of the MoU 2009-2015. In fact, the limit was exceeded in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The penalty was fiscally ineffective: the profit from the extra logs far exceeded (by about six times) the cost of the penalty. Of course, the people of Guyana suffered the penalty while the profit was enjoyed by some foreign companies.
The Norwegian cash comes from the aid budget, not from a commercial contract. That may explain the peculiar features of the deal between ambitious Minister Eric Solheim and ambitious former President Bharrat Jagdeo, which appear in no other PES scheme globally. This is why this scheme is actually worthless internationally, except for the technical aspects of RapidEye analysis.
We know that some Norwegian staff read the website REDD-Monitor so they are well aware of the uncontrolled logging and mining in Guyana. If we understand correctly, as long as Guyana does not breach the artificially high limit for deforestation specified in successive versions of the JCN, Norway does not worry about high levels of uncontrolled logging and mining.
The process for assessing deforestation in Guyana for the MoU is described each year in the GFC-Indufor report. This multi-hundred page technical document can be downloaded from the GFC website. There is no simple –language version, although we ask the Norwegians to make the report understandable for people in Guyana: except for one year, there has been no response from Oslo.

Caribbean Containers Incorporated Pioneering The Paper Recycling Industry In CARICOM

January 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

As the 21st Century beckoned, there were stark reminders of the need for attention to be placed on environmental management and protection. It therefore called for innovative and environmentally friendly ways to live and conduct business. Recycling, reducing and reusing (The Three R’s of Recycling) materials was identified by scientists and researchers as one of the systems which can be employed to save energy and conserve the environment.
Caribbean Containers Incorporated, located at Farm, East Bank Demerara, Guyana, is the pioneer in the recycling industry within the Caribbean Community. The company operates the only Paper Recycling Mill in CARICOM. It manufactures linerboard and fluting medium, using waste paper as feedstock. The company’s total collection of waste removes from the local landfills approximately 1,200 cubic meters monthly.
The process starts when Old Corrugated Cartons (OCC) are purchased from local and foreign suppliers. The locally purchased product is shredded and baled to facilitate easy handling and weighing. However, the imported OCC is stored automatically for processing.
CCI recycles approximately 4,000 metric tonnes of old corrugated cartons per year. The company produces a wide variety of carton boxes. There is the RSC-LFM model which is a regular slotted carton where the long flaps meet. The RSC-LFOL is also a regular box where the long flaps over lap.
In the event that someone wishes to package furniture, flowers and seafood, the company makes a 2-Piece Interlocking Telescopic (Body and Lid) carton which makes for easy assembly and requires no glue or staples to hold together.
Persons desirous of packaging fillet fish or cakes can also have their needs met since 1-Piece interlocking Carton facilitates these items.
The packaging done by the company is well received all over the Caribbean. Forty per cent of its products are exported to regional customers.
The company began in 1983 under the name SAPIL through its Box Plant. In 1999, the business was rebranded and renamed Caribbean Container Inc. It had been privatised in 1992 and in January 2007 the majority shareholder “Demerara Holdings Inc.” was bought over by Technology Investments and Management Inc. The company then restructured.
A total of 145 persons are employed in a number of fields by the recycling giant. These include indirect employment for about 100 persons who provide resource services such as paper collection.
In February 2015, CCI had signalled its intention to work along with local exporters on high quality packaging.
According to CCI Managing Director, Patricia Bacchus, the company’s ventures were confined to corrugated out-packaging and fibre board fitments, developed to meet the needs of new and emerging Guyanese businesses.
The industries which were targeted included packaging for fresh produce of fruits and vegetables and seafood. The boxes are made in such a way that they can be kept in cold storage. Additionally, to accommodate the packaging of ware bottles, separators were also installed into the cartons.
According to Bacchus, CCI has the capability to create customised cartons to suit the needs of its customers. In doing this, small businesses can have access to feasible yet suitable packaging for their products.
The boxes can be made with or without print for companies who are unable to make large orders of customised boxes.
The company is not just business oriented but has been a part of a number of initiatives to improve the standard and state of the physical environment around Guyana. In July 2012 it had partnered with the University of Guyana in an exercise to recycle disposable waste. The idea was described as a bold one by then Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Robert Persaud.
He had said that the move to have a recycling industry developed in Guyana is an important method of dealing effectively with waste management.
In May 2003, the company commissioned its Tetra-Pak recycling plant which signalled the extension of the company’s interest to consume more recyclable items inclusive of cardboard waste. The fibre yield from the new plant is expected to bolster any shortage of cardboard material locally.
Tetra Pak is an overseas-based company which provided the essential equipment for the plant whilst CCI provided the assembly components which included pumps, pipes and electrical panels.
Tetra Pak is one of three companies in the Tetra Laval Group which began in Sweden. Tetra-Pak focuses mainly on the packaging and distribution of liquid products, but also provides packaging solutions for fruit, vegetables, ice cream and pet food.
The Tetra-Pak plant provides CCI with the aptitude to recycle Tetra-Pak aseptic packaging waste. This material comprises of poly-aluminium usually used in packaging for juice and milk.
The company is known for also being a major donor to Non-governmental Organisations and sporting activities. In January 2015, the company approved substantial financial corporate sponsorship for the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club (RYHT&SC) who was celebrating its Silver Jubilee year.
Recently in August of this year, the Guyana Foundation received a donation of folding tables from the company at the organisation’s recently opened Sunrise Centre at Zorg-En-Vlygt Essequibo Coast.
The tables are intended to enhance the operations of the Centre. The Sunrise Centre offers four skills-training courses, mental health support services and holistic wellness activities to improve the mental well-being of residents of the Essequibo Coast.
CCI believes that a balanced environment is essential to a healthy life and the survival of humanity. Embracing the principle of sustainable development, the company understands that the preservation of nature is crucial to its own existence and the progression of its business.

Guyana Rice Development Board Maintains That Booming Rice Sector Holds Countless Opportunities For Viable Investments

January 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Guyana has been producing quality rice for over 100 years. The industry is one which has attracted investment from both local and foreign businesses and it continues to hold numerous opportunities for further investment.
The English speaking nation presently exports rice to 37 countries spanning the Caribbean, Latin America, South America, North America, Europe and Africa, at world market price.
In 2015, Guyana’s exports of rice and rice products peaked at an all-time high of 573,334 tonnes, valued at US$220,768,341 compared to 501,208 tonnes, valued at US$249,504,955. This represents an increase of seven percent in volume, and a decrease in 10 percent in value when compared to 2014. The loss of a high value market was considered as the main contributing factor for the decrease in value.
Furthermore, it is significant to note that rice production in Guyana evolved tremendously over the decades. In this regard, rice production increased from 126,702 hectares as cultivated in late 1960s to 190,789 hectares in 2015. The increase in cultivation of rice is a direct result of ground-breaking research by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB).
Over the decades, the GRDB released high yielding varieties that resulted in rice yields moving from 1.7 tonnes per hectare (1.7mt/ha) in the 1960s to 5.5 tonnes per hectare (5.5mt/ ha) in 2015. The varieties are also praised for being blast resistant and possess a high level of tolerance to other diseases.
Additionally, the Guyana Rice Development Board introduced the Six Improved Management Programme (The Six Points Practice) in 2007. The Six Points Practice is a strategic management practice that will result in significant yield improvement without the increases in production cost. This is, provided that the system is applied in an integrated manner and with precision. Today, over 80 percent of rice farmers in Guyana have implemented The Six Points Practice.
Traditionally, Guyana’s rice production is concentrated mainly along the low coastal plains in Administrative Regions 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. However, it was in 2013 that Barbadian businessman Sir Kyffin Simpson demonstrated confidence in Guyana’s rich lands in the hinterland region as he invested in rice cultivation and milling in the Rupununi Savannahs in Region 9. Rice is also cultivated at Monkey Mountain, Region 8.
With such faith being showcased in the rice industry, GRDB remains adamant that many opportunities exist for investing in Guyana’s rice sector. These include:
Production of other varieties such as short grain rice.
Production of fortified rice.
Production of organic rice.
Expansion of production and packaging of exotic rice (aromatic varieties).
Making new products (rice flour, rice cereal, rice noodles).
Furthermore, Guyana is actively promoting investments in large scale farming and value added products as an opportunity to increase export earnings. The opportunities detailed above have the potential to open doors to carve new niche markets for Guyana’s rice and rice products which are in high demand worldwide.


January 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Globally, the appetite for oil remains as avaricious as it was 100 years ago. In fact, oil and gas supply the world’s seven billion people with 60 percent of their daily energy needs. In the case of Guyana, the need for oil to keep the engine of hundreds of businesses turning cannot be emphasized enough.
Even though the English speaking nation racks up billions of dollars for its fuel import bill, it appears that in the not so distant future, it is going to be a nation not only rich in water, minerals and land but also in oil and gas.
This economic forecast is fueled by rich oil finds as declared by a major US Company called Exxon Mobil. According to the American oil giant, it discovered oil-bearing rock in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana. The United States-based oil company said its Liza-1 well has encountered more than 295 feet of high quality, oil bearing sandstone reservoirs. The well is the first on the 6.6 million acre Stabroek Block and has been drilled to 17,825 feet. It was drilled by Exxon Mobil’s local subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd.
Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd. has a 45 per cent interest in the block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. holds 30 percent interest and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Ltd. holds 25 percent interest.
The oil company has made progress amid the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela, where the latter remains adamant that the area where the US Company is drilling is within its territory.
Since the significant oil find, more than 18 major companies regionally and internationally have since expressed a strong interest in investing in the sector, and hundreds of skilled persons in the area are on the hunt for opportunities to work in Guyana’s oil rich shores.


To prepare for the riches that will accrue from the oil and gas industry, otherwise known as “black gold,” Guyana is taking a number of protective measures; two of which include the creation of a Sovereign Wealth Fund and membership with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
With regard to the fund, Government is currently in the process of finalizing the legislation that will set the stage for a legally established fund that will be used to save the wealth obtained from the sector. It is to be renamed, “The Roraima Fund.”
Perhaps one of the most important measures being taken is the move to have membership with the EITI. This international body ensures that nations engage in good governance and guard against corruption that often follows with the highly affluent sector.
But acquiring membership is not as easy. Guyana is required to go through a number of stages before it can be accepted. However, that process has already started.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman recently reported on the stage at which the nation is in the EITI membership process.
Trotman was careful to note that the EITI standard contains the set of requirements that countries need to meet in order to be considered as, first, an EITI Candidate and in the end, as one of the 51 EITI countries compliant with the EITI requirements.
He explained that the standard is overseen by the international EITI Board, with members from governments, companies and civil society.
He said, “As per EITI Requirement 1 of the EITI Standard, the Ministry of Natural Resources has been identified by Cabinet as the Lead Agency responsible for implementing the Guyana-EITI (G-EITI). The G-EITI MSG consisting of four representatives each from the Government, Industry and Civil Society.”
The Natural Resources Minister said, “We’ve had some delays in terms of having the nomination process for the sectors concluded in time for us to reach our November 2016 deadline. This process is now completed and I can now report that the Industry and Civil Society Representatives were independently appointed by their respective stakeholder groups. The National Secretariat for the MSG will be managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and its responsibilities encompass conceptual and organizational support for the Multi Stakeholder Group in order to ensure the successful implementation of all EITI requirements.”
The Natural Resources Minister said that the Secretariat will serve a municipal relations purpose, encouraging contact with the EITI International Secretariat, in Oslo, Norway, as well as associate EITI Secretariats.
He noted that the Secretariat will be managed by the National Coordinator. In his speech to members of an important gala, he stated that the Government has initiated the process of addressing the staffing requirements of the National Secretariat.
Trotman said that a Legal Officer was contracted and the Government is still in the process of appointing the National Coordinator and working out capacity building initiatives with the International Secretariat.
“It is worthy to note that many of the critical decisions that are to be made, such as which extractive sector Guyana will focus upon in its initial years of reporting, will be made within the tripartite MSG. Its role is not superficial but tremendously integral to the success or failure of the EITI process,” expressed the Minister.
He said that the experience of getting to this juncture has confirmed the worth of this scheme in bringing sectors and seemingly dissimilar parts and people as one and the power of teamwork.
Trotman said that the level of discussions of the tripartite body has already been rich with ideas for sector development and for making the process of EITI successful.
He said, too, that this level of commitment and the recognized value of the process of applying for EITI candidacy, in terms of the transparent process for the choosing of representatives of each sector, has been rewarding for this government which has committed to greater transparency and accountability.
The Minister stressed that the task ahead, while challenging, due mainly to limitations in the current data collection systems, is one that the Government eagerly anticipates and the goal remains for it to submit an application for candidacy before the end of 2016.
He noted that support to enable the success of the process is being received through capacity building support from the Carter Centre and the EITI Secretariat.
“Our Caricom neighbour, Trinidad and Tobago, has been playing a particularly supportive role and has been invaluable in getting us to this point. We are ready for the challenges that will come with transparency and are comforted by the fact that in this EITI system, Government is not alone and is ably supported by civil society and industry. The road ahead is lengthy, and we have taken the first steps and are well on our way,” the Minister noted.

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