IN an effort to address extreme poverty, Government will introduce job-creation measures to promote micro and small scale enterprises that will open opportunities for the disadvantaged and youth. Finance Minister Winston Jordan recently announced that a Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) initiative will be launched to stimulate community growth opportunities at the grassroots level through the financing of small community-driven projects and programmes.
Delivering his maiden budget presentation on Monday, the Finance Minister explained that through this intervention, communities will be encouraged to create viable economic interventions which would at the local level stimulate sustainable employment opportunities.
Some $115 million has been allocated to this programme for the next four months.
Aside from the SLED, after a long period of inactivity, the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN) Programme will be reactivated.
Jordan said in addition to providing institutional and capacity-building support to Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) within Region 10, the LEN programme will re-launch its business advisory and business incubation services and re-commence SME financing through the LEN Fund.
In the 2015 Budget, some $155 million has been injected into the fund to support this venture in an effort to re-energise business activity in Linden and its environs.
“The Government recognises that business is not only the engine, but also the driver of economic growth and innovation. Entrepreneurial initiatives are one of the main tools for achieving the good life. They provide employment and empowerment, especially for vulnerable groups such as the indigenous people, youth and women; and diversify communities and the local economy,” Jordan told the House.
He said being cognisant of the critical role of businesses to the growth and prosperity of the country, the Administration has created a Ministry of Business to emphasise the importance Government attaches to the private sector.
“More specifically, we, through this new Ministry, will take action to boost entrepreneurship; provide incentives to local manufacturers and producers, as a stimulus for them to introduce greener technologies and increase the value-added in their production lines; and build a new and more responsible economic model.
“We endeavour to create a fairer, more balanced and diversified economy, so that we are not limited to, and dependent upon, a narrow range of economic sectors; and where new businesses and economic opportunities are more evenly shared between regions and industries,” the minister said.
He said the Government is committed to making it easier for people to set up new enterprises, and this will be done via the implementation of strategies to reduce the time and steps necessary to start a new business.
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
The Ministry of Business intends to establish a Small Business Development Centre, which will facilitate the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in research and document preparation, and reduce the requirements necessary to access the Micro and Small Enterprise Development grant.
Meanwhile, initiatives are also planned to make Go-Invest the single stop when registering a new business, which would greatly reduce the burden placed on the investor.
“This will also be coupled with a reduction in the number of forms needed to be completed in the entire registration phase and more towards a ‘one-click’ registration system. Moreover, in a bid to foster improvements in the trading environment in Guyana, the ministry will be strongly involved in laying the foundation for a Single Window Automated Processing System (SWAPS),” Mr. Jordan said.
He said SMEs are pivotal to enhancing economic livelihoods and stimulating competitiveness, and in this regard, the Government plans to provide added stimuli to small businesses to spur their growth and contribution to the development of the country.
By Tajeram Mohabir