‘The Garage’ Guyana’s first Drive-In Bar & Grill – A convenient answer to dining and entertainment

September 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Every now and then, we develop a craving for a great spot which includes high quality entertainment, finger-licking food, an appealing ambience and space for parking. Rarely are there establishments which provide all of these elements in one wonderful package.
Luckily, there is ‘The Garage – Drive-In Bar and Grill’ located on Aubrey Barker Road, South Ruimveldt Gardens, between Jackson Street and Plaza Bridge.
The establishment, commonly referred to as ‘The Garage’, is owned by Mr.Estwick Odonio Northe Jnr. and was opened three years ago as a response to persons who demanded a hangout spot which caters for parking.
Northe explained that this was the reason why a spacious empty lot, of approximately 18,450 square feet, was used. He said that customers can actually hang out while seeing their vehicle safe in the compound, instead of parking on the road. This led to Northe choosing the name, “The Garage” for the entity.
He said that The Garage is Guyana’s first drive-in bar and grill with the convenience of parking on the premises where persons have the option of dining in an open-air atmosphere on park-like benches with umbrellas and built-in phone chargers. Customers also have waiters and waitresses serving their tables, eliminating the need to leave the comfort of their seat.
The option is there for persons to sit under a garage-like facility and be entertained by a number of guest Disc Jockeys (DJs) and entertainers. If this does not tickle your fancy, the businessman said that customers can catch up on the latest sports action on the 12 x 8 feet projector screen. On occasions, The Garage features stage performances by the Chow Pow Comedy Jam.
Delicacies at this unique entertainment spot include freshly cooked creole dishes and meats, prepared on the spot in front of customers. This is done on the bar’s large Brazilian-style grill, suitable for grill-side dining.
The Garage’s menu includes barbequed chicken, barbequed pork, grilled steak, fish and chips, fried chicken, black pudding, souse, cook-up rice, fried rice and chowmein among other things.
Besides the Comedy Jam, the hangout spot would have its Karaoke Nights every Tuesday and Thursday. Movie Night is on Monday and Guest DJ Nights are on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Moreover, persons who believe that they have an event in mind that would suit the location can rent it to do so.
Knowing all of this is fine and dandy but it is also interesting to note the background story of this fine establishment.
Northe is the son of Estwick Northe Snr. and Hazeline Northe. He explained that, as a child, his mother would take him to church and ensured that he and his brother attended afterschool lessons.
“I grew up in the family business as my father owned and controlled a supermarket called N.P. Supermarket and Snackette and N.P. Fry Chicken on Robb Street. So when I came home, I would have to take part in selling at the shop and assisting with things concerning the business.”
Northe travelled a lot as a child; something he loves to do even today because it provides him with a broad scope of the outside world. He advised that persons should take trips here and there to broaden their horizon on life and what it has to offer. He got involved in marketing, based on the love he developed for psychology and human behavioural patterns.
The businessman is a former student of the Saint Stanislaus College and the University of Guyana where he graduated with a Degree with Honours in Business Management.
In an exclusive interview with the Guyana Inc. Magazine, the industrious entrepreneur shares more about his business and lifestyle.

Guyana Inc. Magazine (GIM): “What does your business offer and what are some of the processes involved in putting together your menu for the day or week along with hosting events?”

Estwick Northe (EN): “The process involved in putting together the daily or weekly menu starts from choosing the right suppliers of meat and vegetables while making sure they are always fresh and up to standard. If we find that they are lacking in some way, we would replace them with a better supplier. Besides offering a wide range of food every day, we also take in reviews and feedback from customers on what they would like to have and try our best to meet their needs through our delivery service etc.”

GIM: “What are some of your thoughts on business development in Guyana?”

EN: “I think Guyana is developing rapidly and more local food persons here need to come out and create local franchises instead of depending on overseas ones. We have everything here that you can think about, in terms of raw materials, so we need to get busy and create our own taste, and one day, a Guyanese food franchise which can be one of the leading food franchises in other parts of the world.”

GIM: “What challenges did you encounter in starting your business and how did you overcome them?”

EN: “The challenges I faced setting up business in Guyana are what most business people face here and that would be the slow processing of documents and permits and so forth in order for your business to be legitimate. Guyana needs to be more business friendly and oriented which would encourage more small businesses with great ideas to feel more comfortable in starting up and not like it’s a hard task. For example, some people I spoke to don’t even know about The Small Business Bureau of Guyana and the possibility of acquiring business loans with less pay back percentages than the banks, so I think this should be promoted more. I overcame these challenges by keeping the faith and being patient and strong.”

GIM: “How important is customer service to you and the performance of your business?”

EN: “Customer service is the most important tool in business because your business exists solely because of the customer. And the performance of the business needs to take this aspect very seriously. The staff must understand that the same money the customer spends on food ends up in their paycheck so they must treat them well.”

GIM: “What plans do you have for your business in the future?”

EN: “I plan to develop The Garage more and more, which I do every year, and maybe install a play area for children and a swimming pool.”

GIM: “What do you do in your spare time?”

EN: “In my spare time I hang out with friends, travel, go to the gym, search for business ventures and spend time with my partner.”

GIM: “How do you balance finding time for your health and wellbeing and the time your business requires?”

EN: “Being a business owner is quite time consuming but your health is important. You must find time for exercise, having a good diet and also relaxation, for that helps clear the mind as well.”

GIM: “How does your business differ from those of a similar nature? What different do you bring to the table?”

EN: “The difference, I would say, is the core competence that my team and I possess. For example, when we operate our mobile units and provide food at different events, like Cricket at the National Stadium, people know that they can expect freshly prepared food right in front of their eyes and not something that was cooked a while ago and was already put in a box just sitting there. Also, the friendliness of The Garage’s staff shows because some customers know them by name. I think that is why people would always choose The Garage’s booth at events like GuyExpo and other big events.


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

Changes in the Guyanese economy

September 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Within the last two years, there have been several changes to Guyana’s fiscal, social and political fabric for various reasons. Most of these changes have resulted in positive benefits for the nation’s regional and international image while securing encouraging reactions from the world over.
But in the domestic borders, these so-called “changes” have earned mixed responses from a concerned populace.

The sugar industry
The troubles plaguing Guyana’s sugar industry and Government’s response to it is a classic example of the mixed reactions one would see from within the nation’s borders compared to that of the international platform.
Sugar remains the largest employer of labour in Guyana, securing a workforce of some 17,000 employees.
But since the year 2000, there have been marked declines in the sugar productions. Solutions of every type were formulated by the former administration, the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), to somewhat steer away from the inevitable – the scaling down of the sector. That administration brought experts from Cuba, Jamaica, India and China, among other territories, but they still couldn’t save the ailing sector. They even invested over US$200 million in constructing one factory—the Skeldon Sugar Factory—that was intended to rescue the industry. But that ended up being nothing but a hydrocele on the sector.
Compounding the issue as well, was the fact that some old factories were not being maintained as they should be. Then, Guyana lost its European Union (EU) market, which offered preferential prices for Guyana’s sugar. To top things off, employment costs and the cost to produce sugar in Guyana was astronomical when compared to Caribbean territories and ABC countries.
Even with all of these issues, the authorities still continued to feed the sector with billions upon billions of dollars in bailouts. This may have quelled the passions of sugar industry advocates in Guyana who believed that sugar is too big to fail and needs to be kept alive no matter the economic costs. But internationally, this was only hurting Guyana’s image.
Big donor agencies, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), opined that the bailouts were simply too big. They contended that such spending was distorting Guyana’s growth and development in other areas. They cautioned Guyana, on several occasions, that its treatment with the sugar industry would disfigure the moral, economic, political and social well-being of the nation.
Understandably, the authorities of the day could not risk the consequences of not heeding the advice of these powerful global organizations. As such, the authorities today made the bold decision to scale down the sugar industry.
Guyana is now moving in the direction of producing sugar on a small scale; a scale that will only cater for domestic consumption and other smaller markets within CARICOM.
The Government has chosen to make the international organizations happy. And one can even argue that the decision regarding the sector is justified in some respect. However, the locals are not happy with this. Scaling down the sector means putting thousands of workers on the breadline. Where will they go? How will they survive? This drastic change and its social and economic repercussions are yet to be addressed.

200 New Taxes
Another economic change that has left the nation split down the middle is the move by the Government to introduce new taxes. Since the Coalition Government – A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) – came into power, it is the first in Guyana’s history to introduce 200 new taxes.
This decision has earned them unsavory remarks by some and applauses by others.
Some sections of the populace see the Government’s introduction of new taxes, such as a 14 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) charge on water and electricity bills, as well as on private tuition and private health care, as a burden on the poor man. But others, regardless of the implications, believe that it is the best way to go.
In fact, recent statistics by the Ministry of Finance show that Central Government has actually increased by more than 30 percent of its projections. The Ministry of Finance, in its monthly report, revealed that tax revenues for January 2017 were GYD$11.9 Billion. It said that this figure is 40 percent more than the tax revenues earned for the same period in 2016. Total tax revenue for the entire 2017 was budgeted at GYD$162.7 Billion, or 8.67 percent over last year, given the astounding benefits of the new taxes.

The Fight against Corruption
Like many other territories, Guyana has been waging an aggressive fight against corruption, especially since the new administration took office in 2015. And while the efforts on the part of the relatively young government are still to be felt deeply and on a wider national scale, it has still managed to help boost Guyana’s image on the international platform.
One of the major accomplishments for Guyana, when it comes to the fight against corruption, is the establishment of a State Asset Recovery Unit (SARU). This is the first time Guyana would have such a department, which is specifically tasked with the responsibility of recovering state assets which were stolen by officials of the past regime. These would have to be recovered through civil proceedings in the court. The impressive, yet bold move is one that has attracted the praise and even technical assistance of partners in the United States and even organizations like the World Bank.
Another historic step that Guyana has taken on the pathway of anticorruption is that it has launched over 40 forensic audits to identify loopholes which existed under the previous administration for corruption of any form and to plug them all. This has started and performance audits and reports on some agencies have shown that there has been a massive reduction in abuse of resources and corruption and less room for the abuse of the system by some stakeholders.
One of the major areas of weaknesses in Guyana is the public procurement system. So weak was this area that Guyana was said to be losing over GYD$30 Billion annually, based on computations from the Auditor General’s yearly report on the accounts of the nation.
While there were some obstacles in the beginning, the Government has been successful in the establishment of a Public Procurement Commission which will monitor the system for any form of abuse and trickery by contractors. The Commission will also serve to eliminate Cabinet’s no-objection role in billion dollar contracts. The move is one which the nation had waited on for over 23 years.

In order for any country to move forward morally, socially, politically and economically, it must be able to first make an honest assessment of where the weaknesses are and admit them. After doing so, the next big and important step is to make a sincere effort to address those faults.
Guyana is not perfect in this regard. In fact, no country is, but what is praiseworthy is that the necessary steps are being taken to ensure that Guyana is not stuck in its old ways; efforts are being made to ensure that not only is this nation safe but it has a viable and conducive environment for the growth and development of all.
Be that as it may, there are still a number of challenges facing the nation which have to be addressed sooner rather than later. There are still some loopholes which have to be closed and there are still areas in the economy which are yet to be improved.


(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.

The Astounding Results Of Investments In Research And Development Locally And Beyond

January 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

To navigate over the systemic barriers that exist in countries which are not innovation-based economies, deliberate regulatory and policy driven strategies are required.

These policies must not only create economic incentives for innovation-based investment, but also pursue the promulgation and inculcation of innovation as a tool for development, especially among the youth of the country.
Using this point as his premise, renowned Guyanese scientist, Dr. Suresh Narine, stressed that societies which are not culturally knowledge-based and whose economic culture is not pivoted on innovation, lag in the exploitation of science and technology solutions compared to what he refers to as early adopter societies.
He explained, in an exclusive interview with this Magazine, that the Institute of Applied Science and Technology here (IAST), has over the past decade, demonstrated that it is taking Guyana a step further in this regard. He said that the institution remains an elegant example of the life cycle of returns on research and development investment locally.
Narine began rebuilding the IAST’s scientific capacity some 10 years ago, and he explained that it took a leap of faith from the former administration as well as the current Government in Guyana, to continue to fund the activities at the institute on the promise of returns on that investment.
Narine said however, that investment at the IAST, which has been significantly smaller than those in science and technology in other developing countries with comparable economies to Guyana’s own, has begun to pay dividends.
The Professor stated that most of these tangible dividends are coming as a result of investments in science infrastructure and training of people, and giving this apparatus the time to enable the emergence of measurable impacts.
In this regard, the father of three explained that many of the projects at the institute which offer transformative technologies have a life cycle for commercialization which requires constant engagement, tenacity and focus.
In some instances, Dr. Narine asserted that projects which represent technologies successfully commercialized elsewhere and in some cases where Guyana has competitive advantages over other countries where this technology is being used, there are still cultural, regulatory and lack of incentivized frameworks to allow these projects to move forward.
In this respect, the scientist said that he is appreciative of the fact that the Government of Guyana has now specifically focused on renewable energy and created economic and taxation incentives for investment in this sector.
Dr. Narine noted that the IAST has, for some time now, developed technologies for biomass and biodiesel energy systems, and for decades, since Dr. Ulric Trotz was Director of the IAST, biogas has been a viable technology at the IAST.
In this regard, Dr. Narine expressed that The Rupununi Essence line of luxury facial cleansers has been an extremely successful project for the IAST and its collaborators which include the Medicine from Trees and Macushi Research Unit of the North Rupununi District Development Board.
He said that this line of products, which have already begun to differentiate the quality of luxury items from Guyana in the competitive cosmetic sector was developed, branded, and commercialized due to the IAST’s efforts.
He said that the product has been extremely successful, and has an enviable business development model which is focused on forest conservation and community development, but is yet very profitable.
Another transformative project that the IAST has been involved in is the development of a variety of value-added rice based food products. In this regard, he said that two of these, supported first by the previous administration and now by the coalition led government, have been test marketed in the local and regional marketplace for two years and are now slated to begin commercial production in March 2017. He said that the products, which include the Morning Glory brand of breakfast cereals and nutrition bars, will be produced at a factory in Anna Regina, Region Two, which was designed and built by the IAST.
Professor Narine, who recently returned from China, said he was there doing the final inspection of the equipment due to arrive in Guyana in the second week of January 2017.
The celebrated scientist said that the Institute has also convinced the coalition-led Government to invest heavily, in partnership with the Canadian High Commission, in a transformative project to construct a modern solar food processing facility in Paramakatoi, Region Eight.
Dr. Narine disclosed that construction on the facility, which was designed and is being supervised by the IAST, began in November last. He shared that some 2000 farmers are expected to be involved in the project when it becomes operational in 2017. The project is aimed at the cultivation of tomatoes in the region, the sun-drying of these vegetables and their conversion to sundried tomato salad dressings for the local and overseas markets.
Narine indicated that, in total, there are some 20 other projects underway at the IAST, and the institute is taking steps to further showcase these technologies to the public at large, as well as to investment communities. To this end, the Institute will be launching “the green shack” at its headquarters, which is an innovative showcase of products and processes which offer solutions and opportunities in the emerging green economy.
As if this was not enough, Narine is engaged in some very exciting projects in Canada, focused on the commercialization of technologies developed in his laboratory at Trent University. He explained to the Guyana Inc. Magazine that there are about six active commercial projects underway, but he focused on one for the sake of brevity.
One of the projects relate to energy storage. Elaborating on this front, the Professor noted that his research group at Trent University holds several patents in the area of energy storage technologies. He highlighted one project which is at an advanced stage of commercialization – and which was an unintended result of their energy storage research.
He said that the group has developed a variety of “phase change materials” which store energy when they melt and release this energy when they crystallize. These specially designed materials, Narine said, are finding applications in compressed air energy storage, solar energy storage and wind energy storage.
However, at the same time, he and his students just launched a startup company in an area which is quite surprising for the application of energy storage materials.
In this regard, the scientist explained that inspiration for the project came from the announcement by the World Health Organization that hot beverages, above 65 degrees Celcius, have now been implicated in the causation of throat and other cancers.
Narine and his team seized on the inherent opportunity to modulate the temperature of hot beverages. They have designed a variety of food containers to address this problem. For instance, they have designed a travel mug for coffee and tea, which will be in commercial markets early in 2017, which within seconds reduces the temperature of a hot beverage to below 65 degrees Celcius, which is safe, but just below, so that the beverage is still hot.
However, the invention then keeps the temperature at this pleasurable temperature for more than five hours!
Narine said that reaction to the line of products has been astounding, and that applications are being designed for everything from soup, to coffee and tea, as well as buffet food systems in restaurants.
Like all transformative technologies, the idea is simple – a phase change material in the container melts when the hot food is in it, by absorbing the excess energy in the food, thereby cooling it to a safe and pleasurable temperature.
If the food cools below this temperature, the phase change material crystallizes, returning the heat absorbed to the food, keeping it warm and pleasurable for a much longer time period.
Narine expects that there will be some 10,000,000 of the travel mugs manufactured for sale in North America and Europe in 2017.

Pandama Winery and Retreat- A Mesmerizing Paradise For The Mind, Body And Soul

November 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

There are only a few places on planet earth that can offer the peace and serenity that we often seek. It’s even harder to find a place where one can seek
spiritual alignment, connect with nature and the positive natural energy that flows deep within. Pandama Retreat, along the Linden/ Soesdyke Highway of Guyana, is one such paradise that nourishes the mind, body and soul. Its scenery, comprising of the most beautiful flora that Guyana has to offer, is enough to mesmerize the senses. At Pandama you will experience diverse cultures and nurture amazing new friendships, while enjoying a very unique experience. The Retreat caters for any occasion; be it wedding ceremonies, commitment ceremonies or family outings. Just a few minutes from the Soesdyke Main Road, the Retreat proves to be easily accessible. Bird watching is also one of the activities that is offered at the Retreat. In fact, Pandama is home to over 128 species of birds. Birders and wildlife photographers have recently been frequenting the retreat to be the first to discover each new species. Birding packages are also available there. The Retreat also offers fishing and swimming activities, gift shopping, reiki classes, and for the moment you have been waiting for – camping! This one of a kind paradise offers a fully functional campground for picnics and reunions. Their bunk station can very comfortably accommodate 20 adults in their cool, shaded camping area. While there, you can sample some of the tastiest wines this side of the hemisphere has to offer. In 2012, Pandama Wines received the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) President’s award for “Best New Product” in Guyana. Pandama products are available in Guyana at Bounty Supermarkets, the Guyana Shop and DSL Cash and Carry among other leading supermarkets and stores countrywide. “I remember sitting in our back yard in Charlotte, North Carolina with my wife, Tracy, when a very interesting conversation ensued. Tracy intimated that she wanted to start making soap again – Tracy had manufactured her own soap for several years. I remember indicating to her that I always wanted to make my own wine, and I was going to start researching the process. I read everything that I could get my hands on about wine making and decided to invest in the equipment.” Those were the words of the owner of Pandama Winery and Retreat, Mr. Warren Douglas. Warren is a native of Guyana and veteran of the United States Navy. He was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia aboard the U.S Navy’s amphibious assault aircraft carrier USS Guadalcanal. Warren was a member of the crew that
was involved in military conflicts in Grenada and Libya. This crew was also involved in numerous peacekeeping missions in the Mediterranean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. He received his Bachelor’s degree aboard ship through PACE (Program for Afloat College Education) while stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. Warren resided in Virginia for 21 years. Tracy and Warren lived in Charlotte, North Carolina until 2009, then moved to Guyana to co-create Pandama Retreat, Winery & Centre for the Creative Arts. They have two children, Chaz and Tielle and one grandson, Lennox. Warren continued that his first batch of wine was made from North Carolina peaches, and it was a homerun after he introduced it to his friends and family all
across the United States. “I continued to make wine and we gave bottles as gifts at parties and gatherings. When Tracy and I decided to move to
Guyana to live, I knew that wine making would be a major part of the Pandama Retreat experience. With the proliferation of exotic fruits in Guyana, it didn’t take much time for Pandama Wines to come into being. We currently offer several fruit wines which include Pineapple, Jamoon, Aunty Desmond, Noni, Cherry, Malacca Pear, Duka, Carambola and Sorrel. We will continue to develop new flavours periodically,” Mr. Douglas said. Pandama Wines also offers Pulse, a libido enhancement tonic wine which is made from barks native to Guyana and the Amazon Basin. It is a real treat and has gotten rave reviews from ladies and gentlemen alike. Mr. Douglas said that Pandama has received great reviews over the past couple of years since it began its operation in 2009 and they intend to make their products available in as many places as possible. While admitting that there is a real need for quality local wines in Guyana, their products have made it to many tables in the United States and the United Kingdom during the holiday seasons. “We intend to keep things moving. Our focus is not mass production, but rather providing a quality product that is satisfying to all of our customers,” he added.

Why Striving For International Accreditation Should Matter To You

November 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The main aim of any business, when it first begins its operations, is to be able to make a profit but crucial to bringing in the big dollars is ensuring your business becomes a hub of recognition.

This allows customers near and far to see it, become interested, respect it, and most importantly, spend their money in exchange for the goods or services offered. In this regard, advertisement plays a major role in increasing a business’s visibility, reach and its capability to attract an increasing number of customers. However, as the business grows and becomes a household name within a country, there is only so much that advertising can do that word-of-mouth and product quality hasn’t done yet. It is at this point that a business needs to increase its reach beyond the borders of its country and aim for some amount of regional or international accreditation. Why is this necessary, and why should businesses aim for this sort of accreditation even after it has had complete success in its country? Well, here are some crucial reasons to consider:

1. More Profits – With increased sales, one can expect a total increase in profits, especially if on an international level. Your currently priced product can be sold for a greater price on the global market as compared to the price sold within the country. This does not mean that provision of these products should be stopped locally because of higher profits globally. Remember, the local supply is what forms the backbone of your business. Aiming for international accreditation is, by extension, aiming for greater profits.

2. Short-term Security – By aiming for international accreditation and successfully doing so, your business is guaranteed to be almost unaffected or minimally affected by sudden or ‘once in a while’ changes in the country’s economy. This is so due to the fact that there is also assurance for your business out of the country.

3. Long-term Security – As with short-term security, by acquiring international accreditation, your business is assured some amount of protection from changes in your country’s economy. But in this case, your business remains stable despite domestic competitors, as well as foreign ones, to a certain extent.

4. Increased Innovation – Through the expansion of your customers’ reach, both locally and internationally, your increased sales and profits could help to fund the development of new products.

5. Exclusivity – Acquiring international accreditation puts your business and its management in a position to gain exclusive knowledge about foreign customers, market places and market situations. This could work in your favour on the local market through the implementation of certain strategies. These strategies would be developed in relation to the information obtained from the global market and would help to ward off local competitors.

6. Education – Some companies do not aim for international accreditation just for the financial gain. Quite a lot of businesses join in on the international market to scope out the feasibility of their existence on such a plane. In essence, they do so just for the learning experience, which in turn allows them to better themselves locally and later on, internationally.

7. Competitive Strike – This comes in two forms when aiming for international accreditation; offensive and defensive. In the offensive form, entering the global market allows one to gain a sort of edge against local competitors. It allows for faster growth and increased visibility. It also allows for greater customer confidence, causing patrons of other local companies providing the same goods and services to switch to your brand; all due to the international accreditation. On the defensive note, some businesses enter the global market due to the fact that a major competing business has entered first. By allowing that business to be the sole operator in the market, it would gain a significant advantage. This, however, is negated through retaliation by entering the global market as well. It ensures that you keep your current customers and gain a significant amount more as well.

It is absolutely necessary to be internationally accredited if you want your business to grow. As mentioned above, there are a number of advantages of doing so, even if your business is now starting up. It might be wise to start a little bigger than you anticipated. But always bear in mind that scoping your market before implementing anything is always best.

Safeguarding The Insurance Sector From Another Lethal Blow

November 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Guyana’s insurance industry took a serious blow when the infamous CLICO disaster came its way.

No sector or industry is ever bullet proof. As such, there will be times when even the strongest and most secure sector will receive a punch that throws it off balance for some time. This was the case of Guyana’s insurance industry which took a serious blow when the infamous CLICO disaster came its way.

It was on January 2, 1994, that CLICO International Life Insurance Limited opened its doors taking over the life insurance operations in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean of Colonial Life Insurance Company (Trinidad) Limited. CLICO served the Caribbean for over 60 years. Its mission was to become the company of choice among life insurance buyers in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. At the helm was Leroy Parris, former Chairman of CLICO Holdings Barbados Ltd., which included services such as CLICO International Life Insurance Ltd. With 60 years of service under its belt, the company became one of the largest local conglomerates in the region, encompassing over 65 companies in 32 countries worldwide, with total assets exceeding US$100 billion. By the turn of the century, rumblings of fraud and money laundering at CLICO were felt. In 2005, there was talk of naive and greedy managers. There was even talk of failure of the government, regulators and auditors; of incompetence and failures at every level and at the highest levels within the company; and finally, fear and talk of CLICO needing taxpayers’ bailout. Understanding the situation from his bird’s-eye view within the company, the Chairman decided to protect his interest and before the mess hit the fan, CLICO was presumably being looted. By 2007 to 2008, there was no hiding the fact that CLICO was limping financially, as well as its branches in other Caribbean territories, including Guyana. CLICO Guyana had approximately $6.9B invested in the Regional Insurance Company. Junior Finance Minister, Jaipaul Sharma, said that many Guyanese who invested in CLICO are still to receive their monies. He noted that only a few were able to get compensation when the company flopped.

To prevent a recurrence of such financial whirlwinds, Guyana’s National Assembly earlier this year passed a refined and strengthened Insurance legislation that is geared to protect the sector and restore accountability and transparency. Taking the Bill before the House was Finance Minister, Winston Jordan. He acknowledged that the Bill was one which had its genesis with the former regime. He said that to his government’s credit, they had taken it to an advanced stage. He is proud that the new government was able to take up the mantle and bring it to its final stage. Jordan said that the Bill is crucial to the nation’s financial architecture as international consultants found that there were a number of gaps in the sector. These gaps included the lack of regulatory requirements relating to governance, lack of risk management guidelines, absence of minimum capital levels, weak supervision and the absence of information sharing. The Finance Minister related that this refined Bill ensures that all of these gaps or loopholes are closed. He noted, too, that the Bill seeks to align the industry with international best practices and is modified to take into account, the current developmental structure of Guyana’s insurance industry. Jordan said that the overall approach is to include risk based approaches consistent with sound business and financial practices. The Finance Minister said that based on assessments by the World Bank and other international consultants, it was found that Guyana’s systems for monitoring the insurance sector were in some regard, primitive. Jordan said that when the APNU+AFC took office, another round of consultations was held on the draft legislation in October 2015. After some amendments, the draft was then presented to stakeholders within the industry. He said that the final draft received the stakeholders’ blessings and it was subsequently sent to the Chambers of the Attorney General. He commented that the Bill is very comprehensive and it received the blessings of the House.

According to Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, the insurance sector was adequately capitalized in keeping with the requirements of the Insurance Act 1998, for the period ending March 31, 2015. He said that assets for both the long-term and general insurance sectors exceeded liabilities by 32.5 percent and 132.2 percent respectively. Jordan said that this was complemented by the sectors’ ability to meet their expenses from growth in net premiums. As a result of the industry’s performance, as at March 31, 2015, positive growth in assets, net premiums and capital is also projected for the remainder of the year. In his opinion, the Finance Minister said that the industry has rebounded somewhat since the calamitous collapse of CLICO in 2008. He said that notwithstanding the recovery, net premiums reported by the long term insurance sector were only 42.3 percent of the amount prior to the CLICO debacle. The economist said that this is an indication that many policyholders might have lost confidence in the long-term insurance sector. He said that the systemic failures by CLICO have reinforced the need for enhanced regulation in the insurance sector. In the meanwhile, he said that efforts have been made to build supervisory capacity in the insurance sector while a risk based supervisory framework will be developed to supervise and regulate the same. Additionally, Jordan said that Guyana’s National Insurance Scheme (NIS) has faced several challenges over the years, including lack of compliance by both employers and employees combined with unprofitable investments. Jordan also stated that the management of NIS will work diligently to ensure greater compliance through the enforcement of the laws. This year, according to the Minister of Finance, management will be targeting delinquent businesses and employers in order to recover the $1.3 billion in arrears owed to the Scheme. The NIS will also be examining an appropriate investment policy to guide its investments to ensure that future investments are profitable. The Minister Jordan reiterated that NIS plays an important role in enhancing the capacity of the poor and vulnerable to manage risks such as unemployment, disability, sickness and old age. Given this, as well as Government’s commitment to reduce poverty and inequality within the society, he promised that profitability is restored at NIS, over the longer term. Additionally, the Finance Minister said that the National Insurance Scheme improved its financial position, from a current deficit of $358.7 million at the end of the first half of 2015 to a deficit of $63.3 million for the same period in 2016. Through increased compliance efforts, he said that the NIS was able to collect $1.7 billion and $18.9 million in outstanding contributions from employers and self-employed persons, respectively, resulting in the growth of contributions by $800 million.

Highlights of the work of Guyana’s Fisheries Department

September 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The fisheries sector of Guyana consists of three aspects: marine fishery, aquaculture, and inland fishery. Most of the fisheries activities are concentrated on the nation’s continental shelf, as well as the continental slope (to a small extent).
Marine fishery is mostly concerned with shrimp trawling and utilizing ground-fish resources.
Managing this sector is the Fisheries Department, which is located within the Ministry of Agriculture.
While the main Administrative Office (Head Office) of the Fisheries Department is located in the Ministry of Agriculture’s compound in Regent and Vlissengen Rds., Georgetown, Region Four, the Department also has out of town bases. These areas are:
• Houston, East Bank Demerara – The staff there form the Legal and Inspectorate Unit.
• Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara – The office in this area is known as the SatyadeowSawh Aquaculture Station (SSAS). The majority of the staff’s activities revolve around the operations of this facility. They form the core of the Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries Unit.
• Anna Regina, Essequibo Coast – The Anna Regina Fish Station (ANFS) is located in that area. The purpose of this facility is to provide fingerlings, as well as information and extension services to the fish farmers in Region Two. It also functions as base for the staff activities in Region Two (both marine and aquaculture related).
• Rosignol and New Amsterdam (Berbice) – The few staff in Berbice are tasked with coordinating the Fisheries Department’s activities (both marine and aquaculture related) in Regions Five and Six.
In addition to this, the Fisheries Department has several sub-programmes. These include Resource Assessment and Statistics, Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries, Program Administration, and Extension.
While its work has been extensive in its sub programmes, the Department revealed that permission was granted to one industrial company (Pritipaul Singh Investment Inc.) to convert one vessel and equip one trawler type vessel to explore deep seas long line fishing, to determine the feasibility of this practice, after which consideration will be given to granting full licenses for this method of fishing.
Meanwhile, it was also noted that revenue collected from other licenses was $ 25.24 million. This represents 17.43% decrease from the G$ 30.75 million revenue collected in 2014.
With regard to exports, it was observed that in 2015, USA received the large majority of the fish products (58%) exported by Guyana, with Jamaica receiving 26% of the total export.
It was noted too that in 2015, grey snapper continues to be the most exported species according to individual licenses that were issued, and patwa was the inland fish species that had the highest quantity exported.
As it relates to Marine Production, the Fisheries Department revealed that total production for marine fisheries in 2015 was 35,835 mt. Officials said that the Guyana Private Trawlers Owners and Seafood Processor Association (GPTOSP) had its fourteen annual closed seasons for seabob.
However, no fishing was done during the six weeks period. Officials said that when the fishing period was reopened there was a decrease in the quantity of shrimp caught.
The Department is still analyzing the data submitted and will address the period for closed season with a scientific approach.
Furthermore, there was a 5% increase in sea bob industrial production and an overall 7 % increase in total shrimp production. For finfish, there was an overall 12 % decrease in production when compared with the previous year. Prawns had 18% increase compared to 2014.
The Fisheries Department felt that it is necessary for readers to understand some of the constraints facing its Legal and Inspectorate Unit which eventually led to a number of setbacks in the sector. These include:
• The lack of enforcement operations and prosecution of operators of unlicensed artisanal has led to numerous artisanal vessels being unlicenced over the reporting period of 2015. Only two specific enforcement and surveillance exercises were conducted with the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard. These exercises resulted in the zoning of some thirty fishing vessels engaged in the anchor seine method of fishing.
• Lack of a dedicated vehicle and driver for the Unit hampers some activities; particularly visits to landing sites and wharves (which are often done early in the morning) and inspection of processing plants.
• The tendency to submit data late by some processing plants severely affected the Unit’s ability to conduct analysis of trends within the industry.
• There is a lack of communication/coordination between the Guyana Coast Guard, Maritime Administration Department, the Fisheries Department and other related government agencies. An improvement in this area, officials believe, will lead to better management of the fisheries sector.
Aquaculture is one of the sub-programmes handled by the fisheries department. In Guyana, it is done along the coast (mainly) and some of the farmed species are shrimp (Penaeussubtilis), tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) and tambaqui (Colossomamacropomun).
Inland fishing activities are conducted in freshwater areas such as rivers and lakes; these include capture fishing activities, as well as sports fishing and aquaculture.
However, most inland fisheries activities are mainly subsistence activities, although ornamental fishes are utilised for commercial purposes.
Managing the performance of this area is the Aquaculture Unit. The mandate of this Unit is to operate aquaculture research, fingerling production and training facility, and facilitate the development and expansion of aquaculture and Inland Fisheries.
The Fisheries Department’s involvement with Aquaculture development is spearheaded by the SatyadeowSawh Aquaculture Station (SSAS) of the Fisheries Department.
The facility is used to execute research activities, train farmers and students, and produce fingerlings (young fish). The SSAS also provides extension services and free technical advice to farmers. There is also an aquaculture facility in Region Two, Anna Regina Fish Station (ARFS), which also provides fingerlings and some extension services to aquaculture farmers.
The Responsibilities of the ARFS include providing information on site selection, pond preparation and farm management; technology transfer and training for local farmers; conducting trials on feeding, growth rates, and other parameters regarding species with aquaculture potential; and collecting data from aquaculture farmers.
With regard to fingerling production and fingerling sales, it was found that SSAS has been producing tilapia fingerlings (Oreochromis Sp.) at subsidized cost to farmers for several years.
In fact, it was noted that in 2015, 83,352 fingerlings, valuing at $1,166,928 were sold to 34 farmers from Region Two, Three, Four, Five and Six. Officials said that Region Six and Region Four farmers bought the bulk of the fingerlings provided by SSAS.
Additionally, 2251 fingerlings were donated for use at Agriculture Month activities, and to University of Guyana for research purposes.
The total fingerlings sold by the ARFS facility amounted to 698, valued at $9,772.
However, ARFS is being severely affected by indiscriminate dumping of sewage into their main irrigation canal, lack of breeding stock, poorly laid out ponds for fingerling production and the need for another pond attendant.
As for the area of Aquaculture production, this is gathered from select farmers, particularly in Region Six but also from Regions Four, Five and Nine. However, officials said that it is important to note that some of the figures are estimated due to a lack of sufficient data.
Additionally, the officials within this area said that data was requested from some aquaculture companies but they were not provided. Also, based on the data received so far, the aquaculture production for 2015 is 2.55 mt., while 4.09 mt was produced last year.
Furthermore, the Guyana Private Trawlers Owners and Seafood Processor Association (GPTOSP) had its fourteen annual closed seasons for seabob. No fishing was done during the six weeks period. When the fishing period was reopened there was a decrease in the quantity of shrimp caught. The Department is still analyzing the data submitted and will address the period for closed season with a scientific approach.
There was a 5% increase in seabob industrial production and an overall 7 % increase in total shrimp production. For finfish there was an overall 12 % decrease in production when compared with the previous year. Prawns had 18% increase compared to 2014.
In 2015, USA received the large majority of the fish products (58%) exported by Guyana, with Jamaica receiving 26% of the total export. It was noted that in 2015 grey snapper continues to be the most exported species according to individual licenses that were issued, and patwa was the inland fish species that had the highest quantity exported.

Import/ Export- Guyana’s Merchandise Trade Shows Marginal Contraction Over The Past Three Years

August 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

According to the Bank of Guyana, which monitors the growth and slump of the economy, it was found that the country’s merchandise trade deficit contracted by 24.3 percent or US$75.9 million to US$236.8 million from US$312.6 million as at the end of June 2014.

This outturn was due to a US$74.5 million reduction in imports and a US$1.4 million increase in export receipts. Total export receipts amounted to US$536.1 million, 0.3 percent more than the US$534.7 million recorded at end-June 2014. This upturn was as a result of higher earnings from rice, “other exports” and timber.
Also, it was revealed that the value of merchandise imports decreased by 8.8 percent or US$74.5 million to US$772.8 million. This outturn was on account of lower imports of intermediate goods. Imports in the “consumption goods” sub-category amounted to US$188.4 million, 0.8 percent or US$1.5 million more than the 2014 corresponding level.
This was mainly due to increases in other durable goods and food for final consumption by US$4.5 million and US$3.3 million respectively.
There were declines in beverages and tobacco, other non-durable goods, motor cars, clothing and footwear and other semi-durable goods by US$2.6 million, US$1.6 million, US$1.3 million, US$0.5 million and US$0.3 million respectively. In the “intermediate goods” sub-category, imports decreased by 18.7 percent or US$90.7 million to US$393.7 million.
This position was as a result of declines in the import value of fuel and lubricants, food for intermediate use, textiles and fabrics and other intermediate goods by US$101.0 million, US$3.5 million, US$0.7 million and US$0.4 million.
However, chemicals and parts and accessories recorded increases of US$13.2 million and US$1.6 million respectively. Additionally, imports in the sub-category “capital goods” increased by 8.6 percent or US$14.8 million to US$186.7 million.
Nearly all types of capital goods recorded an increase, with the most notable being an US$8.7 million increase in building machinery. However, imports for industrial machinery and agricultural machinery saw a decline of US$5.4 million and US$5.2 million respectively.
As for the year 2013, it was noted that the merchandise trade deficit narrowed by 2.3 percent or US$7.2 million to US$304.4 million from US$311.6 million at the end June 2013. This decline was due to a US$68.2 million reduction in imports which more than offset a US$61.4 million contraction in export receipts.
It was found too, that the value of merchandise imports decreased by 7.5 percent or US$68.2 million to US$839.0 million. This outturn was mainly on account of lower imports of consumption, intermediate, and capital goods.
Imports in the consumption goods sub-category amounted to US$186.9 million, 7.2 percent or US$14.5 million less than the 2013 corresponding level. All items within this subcategory decreased, with the most notable being a decline in other nondurable goods, and other durable goods of US$5.8 million and US$2.8 million respectively.
In the intermediate goods sub-category, imports declined by 3.3 percent or US$16.1 million to US$476.1 million. This position was mainly due to declines in chemicals, parts and accessories, and textiles and clothing by US$20.5 million, US$8.9 million, and US$0.1 million respectively. However, fuel and lubricants, other intermediate goods and food for intermediate use recorded increases of US$6.9 million, US$3.6 million and US$2.9 million respectively.
Importantly, imports in the sub-category of capital goods declined by 17.7 percent or US$37.0 million to US$171.9 million. Nearly all types of capital goods recorded a decline, with the most notable being a US$17.1 million reduction in agricultural machinery. However, imports for mining machinery saw an increase of US$3.6 million.
When compared to the prior year, statistics revealed that merchandise trade deficit narrowed by US$57.4 million to US$317.7 million from US$375.1 million at the end of June 2012. This was however, noted to be an improvement over 2011. It was due to a US$7.0 million increase in exports and a US$50.4 million decrease in imports.
It could be noted that the value of merchandise imports decreased by 5.3 percent or US$50.4 million to US$907.2 million. This outturn was mainly on account of lower imports of consumption, intermediate and capital goods.
Imports in the consumption goods amounted to US$201.4 million. All items except food for final consumption, motor cars, clothing and footwear, and other durable goods increased in value. For intermediate goods, imports decreased by 5.7 percent to US$492.1 million. This position was on account of a 9.6 percent or US$30.0 million decrease in the value of fuel and lubricants imported, as well as a decrease in the value of parts and accessories imported by 20.8 percent or US$11.9 million. Food for intermediate use and chemicals recorded increases of 9.4 percent or US$3.5 million and 43.8 percent or US$12.8 million respectively.

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