Finance Minister encourages businesses to deploy more digital solutions during Canada-Guyana Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural AGM

-Outlines some of Government’s plans to promote E-commerce

Georgetown, Ministry of Finance, April 26, 2022: Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, today, while applauding some businesses for already moving ahead with improving their E-Commerce services before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, further encouraged private sector entities to deploy solutions to allow for faster and easier service and E- Commerce business transactions. At the same time, the Minister outlined Government’s plans, some of which are already being enacted, in terms of response and solutions to the inefficiencies in the system. Dr. Singh was speaking at the inaugural Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Guyana/Canada Chamber of Commerce which was held today at the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry’s (GBTI’s) Recreational Centre, Bel Air Park.

Emphasizing that the Chamber has an extremely important role to play in the economic and commercial landscape of Guyana, the Finance Minister reminded that there are already many Canadian companies with very well-established presence in Guyana as well as many Guyanese companies doing business with Canada and some located there. He reminded further that this point was reinforced most recently during the visit to Guyana by Canada’s Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Mary Ng during which a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Guyana and the Canadian Commercial Cooperation that will facilitate discussions and exchange of information related to the procurement of Canadian goods and services. Dr. Singh pointed out that under this framework, it is expected that even greater opportunities for economic and commercial transactions will be realized. On this note, he congratulated the Chamber for all of their achievements since their formation in December 2020.

Minister Singh then outlined some of Government’s plans in E-commerce as he referenced President Ali’s consultative meeting recently at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre which focused on an Information Communications Technology (ICT) Masterplan for Guyana. He alluded to Government’s vision in the deployment of digital solution not only from the point of view of improving the public infrastructural space and not only from the standpoint of the deployment of digital solutions from an electronic Government perspective in terms of E-Government but also the use of digital solutions for the purposes of private sector commercial activity. Those, he stated, are all elements of any modern ICT Masterplan.

“One of the very first things that President Ali did when he assumed office was to bring into operation the new Telecommunications Act and that Act laid the foundation for the liberalization of the telecommunications sector and saw immediately thereafter, significantly ramped up interest by companies operating in the ICT space in introducing services which previously were largely in the domain of the legacy monopoly provided,” Dr. Singh reminded.

‘We’ve seen already, perhaps most prominently, the laying of redundant fibre optic cable and extension of fibre optic connectivity to places that were never served before,” the Minister added.

The Finance Minister pointed out that Government plans to ramp up and improve significantly, through E-commerce, the services provided by the public sector to allow for a service that would be as citizen-friendly as possible. He alluded to two of Government’s major plans of introducing a Single- Window process foe trade transactions as well as a Single window process for construction permits. The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has already commenced an aspect of the first process through the introduction of the Single Window Automated Processing System (SWAPS) and 2022 should see full implementation of the system. He urged the Private Sector to also take advantage of the ICT legislation and other legal provisions in order to further improve its services to the public as he commended those businesses which have already moved ahead in this direction.

The Canada-Guyana Chamber of Commerce has over the last year established a physical presence through the enrollment of over 50 business members and has organized numerous virtual and in person events to address pertinent issues of interest to members. It has also facilitated various investment opportunities and relationships between enterprises in both Guyana and Canada. The Chamber has signaled its intention to continue to strive towards improving bilateral economic relations in 2022.

 

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