Economy shows signs of recovery
- President Jagdeo reports

by Linda Rutherford
Guyana Chronicle
August 25, 2000

IN SPITE of recent difficulties, the Guyana economy is reviving and investments are on the rise, President Bharrat Jagdeo reported yesterday.

"...our economy has been very resilient. Investments continue to grow today; there are visible signs of this", he said at the opening of the biennial trade fair, Guyexpo 2000, at the Sophia Exhibition Centre, Georgetown.

This was evidenced, he said, in his commissioning on Wednesday of a spanking new G$36M sawmill and wood processing plant at Bamboo Landing, on the Berbice River and the opening, just a few days ago, of a new tourist lodge on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway.

Citing the upsurge in construction at the Coldingen and Eccles Industrial Estates, on the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara respectively, as more tangible evidence of the economy's recovery, Mr Jagdeo said: "There is a virtual boom in the construction industry; if you travel across Guyana you will see that it's happening".

He anticipates, too, that when the government-led capital projects begin to come on stream later in the year, there is going to be difficulty meeting many of the aggregates and finding contractors to do all the work required.

Noting that all these developments were taking place daily, the President said he couldn't agree more with an observation made earlier in the ceremony by Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Mr George Jardim that Guyanese should not succumb or fall prey to the prophets of doom.

He said that in the same way the government has committed itself to publicly acknowledging its mistakes and make amends whenever it makes a policy decision that is not in the best interest of the country, that so too should the people in the private sector understand that confidence breeds confidence.

He said he raised the point because no matter how well people in certain sectors tell him they are doing, they often have a different tune whenever they go on TV.

"They would never speak about the positive things that are happening even within their industries", he said.

"I am glad George mentioned that...because private sector needs to understand that the more you speak about your success stories, the more successful you're going to become; because you're going to encourage others to participate here too".

Extending a warm welcome to the many overseas visitors and potential investors, President Jagdeo said the exhibition was indicative of how much Guyana was able to achieve in a short period, particularly the close bond that exists today between the government and the private sector.

"Today, our private sector has provided the concrete evidence to our population, overseas-based entrepreneurs and investors that where there was nothing, today there is something", he said.

"I know it is not easy, but those who have persevered are reaping the benefits. They are doing Guyana proud. I urge others to follow", he added.

Commending the work done by the GuyExpo organising committee in attracting more than 200 companies to participate in the event, President Jagdeo said: "What we see here today are the fruits of sound investment policies that have been introduced during the recent past".

These were policies, he said, that have sought to deliberately support the private sector for the creation of more jobs and wealth for all the people.

"These policies are geared to promote export-oriented growth, ensure external competitiveness and maintain appropriate incentives for private sector development", he said.

"Let me make it clear; my government sees the private sector as a main agent for job and wealth creation. Our policies will continue to offer the support needed to enhance the private sector's capacities", he said.

Among those at the ceremony were government officials, representatives of the diplomatic corps, overseas visitors and buyers and strong representation from the man-in-the-street.

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