Crime seen as major factor impacting on business in 2003
-Ram and McRae business outlook survey
December 19, 2002
The unprecedented spate of criminal activity which began just after the February 23 jailbreak has been ranked the number one factor most likely to impact negatively on the success of businesses next year.
This was one of the findings of Ram & McRae in the Guyana Business Outlook Survey 2003, a study of the performance and decisions taken by companies during 2002, their outlook on the economy and their profitability, plans and strategies for the future.
According to the report, now in its 9th year, other key issues identified as likely to impact on businesses are last year's terror attacks on the United States, political stability, lack of confidence in the economy, increased migration, electricity supply and rates, access to foreign currency and corruption.
Christopher Ram, Managing Partner of Ram & McRae, chartered accountants, said at a press conference at Hotel Tower yesterday that the response rate of 40% was slightly disappointing when compared with the 45% and 47% rates over the past two years.
Of the ninety-five companies approached for the study, only thirty-eight responded. Ram said that the responses received from these companies confirmed the pessimism expressed by many in last year's survey.
The report outlined that the majority of respondents (55%) reported results worse than they had expected. That was 22% more than in 2001. The report also said that only 11% reported better than expected results.
And 16% of those surveyed remained fairly confident about the economy while 32% were not at all confident. The proportion of respondents who are fairly confident has slightly increased over the number in 2001, although it is significantly lower than two years ago. The number of those who are not confident has increased in each of the past two years, the study said.
It was revealed also that 53% of the responding companies believe that economic conditions will be worse for privately-owned businesses in the next twelve months than they have been in the past twelve months.
Despite the constraints, however, a significant percentage (45%) of those surveyed indicated their intention to increase the size of their operations in 2003. The majority of respondents continue to express optimism about their growth potential.
The report also outlined growth strategies identified by the companies which plan to expand. These included: improvement of existing products, new product/service development, upgrading of technology and investment in public relations/advertising programmes.
Businesses complained that Government's response to the upsurge in crime did not find favour with them. They indicated they would like to see the lowering of direct taxes, formulation of a long-term plan to assist manufacturers, the control of inflation, and enhanced governance.
Ram emphasized that the report is not meant to be a statistical measure of business activity.
The report is available at Ram & McRae's office at 157 Waterloo Street.