Buy more local goods To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
January 5, 2002

More than 50% of Guyanese are indifferent to, or object to buying local produce and products. I believe indoctrination during colonialism is one of the reasons for this situation. Our foreparents were brain-washed with the ideology that things which originated from the `mother landsí are superior to those produced locally.

Our economy will not boom unless we start consuming more of our goods instead of exotic items.

A little investigation will reveal that many of our goods are at least on par with those imported. Notwithstanding that some of our goods are of a lower quality, canít we make a little sacrifice, in the name of patriotism, to support our producers? Buying more local goods (example, increasing the demand in the market for local items) will trigger an expansion in our industries-particularly manufacturing, fishing, poultry, cattle and farming - which will inevitable lead to an increase in employment, hence taking much strain off society. Human resources should not be made to idle as these could undoubtedly contribute to criminal activities - robbery, stealing, murder, vandalism, arson, etc.

Itís not surprising that foreigners will import our goods only if we have regard for such goods. Once canned and properly packaged - we need canning and packaging factories - more goods could be exported to earn foreign currencies (Great Britain Pound, Canadian Dollar, U.S dollars, etc) which are needed to increase the purchasing power of the Guyana Dollar. Strengthening of the Guyana dollar implies a lower cost of living for our people.

Banning of certain imported items by the late Prime Minster, L.F.S Burnham was a good attempt made for us to consume more of what we produce, but the strategy failed for at least two reasons:

1. It was introduced abruptly and

2. It was too extreme and rigid.

Of course, we cannot risk banning any import under the present free market system of globalisation and liberalisation, lest we be penalised by the international community. But I think that the importation of certain goods (especially food items) should be restricted probably by imposing higher customs and duties.

Does it make any sense that more than 75% of the population are living in poverty?

The Government must take proactive action to stimulate increased production. Some of the ways include the following.

Customs & Excise Department should levy heavy customs and duties on certain imports.

Facilitating the decreased of interest rates on commercial lending Granting of fiscal incentives and tax holidays

Releasing of idle lands for investment.
Promotion campaign: The Government Information Agency (GINA) and/or the Ministry of Tourism and Industry should take action to educate Guyanese, showing the value of our goods. The Guyana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), the Guyana Television Broadcasting Co. Ltd (GTV) and the Guyana National Newspapers Ltd (GNNL) should be the important media in this regard. If they are serious about building Guyana, other media could assist in this noble cause. Panel discussion, live call-in interaction and quizzers are some of the programmes which could be employed by the media. This may be hard work and will definitely take time to penetrate the mind. With persistence, however, some Guyanese could be convinced that we produce many valuable goods.

So, do we desire to come out of poverty? Then I suggest that we start buying more of our local goods.