IPED to expand operations despite difficult 2002
December 3, 2003
INSTITUTE of Private Enterprise Development (IPED) is still proud of its sterling contribution to the development of this nation, despite 2002 being “a very difficult year for the country, plagued with an unprecedented crime wave which severely affected the business sector.”
Chairman of the lending institution, Mr Yesu Persaud said so when he presented the annual report at the seventeenth annual general meeting (AGM) Monday and announced the proposed expansion of operations.
IPED now has a Head Office, still in South Road, four branch offices and four sub-offices in coastal regions as well as two sub-offices at Linden and Kwakwani in Region 10 (Upper Demerara/Berbice) where activities will be intensified.
When operations in the hinterland are extended to Maburama and Port Kaituma in Region One (Barima/Waini), Mahdia in Region Eight (Potaro/Siparuni) and Lethem in Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo), IPED would then have a presence in all 10 Administrative Regions of Guyana, Persaud said.
He said Guyana continues struggling “to cope with economic and political challenges but IPED, which now has a staff of 70, last year financed 4,784 entrepreneurs with loans totalling $720M, creating and/or sustaining 7,618 jobs and adding $4.2 billion value to the economy.
Persaud said, since its establishment in 1986, IPED has funded in excess of 34,000 businesses and provided managerial and technical training to thousands of entrepreneurs.
He was particularly proud that the majority of the beneficiaries were at the micro level, where the “the poorest of poor” exist, the unemployed and single parent mothers among them.
However, while IPED continues to grow, like all other businesses it remains subjected to problems in the economy and environment.
Persaud said, during “the period of drought, business was rough” and the entity was forced to extend deadlines because many borrowers were unable to meet their obligations.
He said the rapid changes taking place in the world today, fuelled by the forces of globalisation, have had a significant impact on developing economies like Guyana’s and adversely affect the many local industries.
Persaud pointed out that globally, the developed economies grew by two per cent in 2002 whilst inflation was benign.
He observed:“Guyana is not immune to the above constraints. It is a country that is heavily dependent on commodities, the prices of which continued to decline in 2002.”
Persaud said the economy of Guyana grew by 1.1 per cent in 2002, less than the 1.9 per cent in 2001 and the areas of growth included sugar, which recorded a 15 per cent best for the industry in a long time; diamonds 38 per cent; poultry 32 per cent and manufacturing two per cent.
He said the industries that declined were forestry by eight per cent; bauxite by seven per cent; gold by four per cent; fish and shrimp by four per cent; rice by 11 per cent and construction and engineering by four per cent.
Persaud said there is a need to shift gears towards the production of goods and services to reduce unit costs and ensure that exports are competitive in the global market.
“Another strategy that would contribute to the growth of the economy is to put some emphasis on exports and value-added products and market them as such,” he recommended.
Persaud stressed that this country needs security and political stability to create the confidence needed to attract investments for creating jobs and wealth for its people.
He thanked many organisations for their contributions over the years and the directors and members of staff for their exemplary performance.
Persaud noted that IPED started business in April 1986 in a rented office at Lot 240 Camp Street but acquired its own premises at Lot 253 South Road, also in Georgetown in 1990 and operated there until June 1996.
Diplomats were in the audience at the AGM when IPED honoured outstanding young entrepreneurs and staffers who served in excess of five years and re-elected the Board of Directors, including Persaud, Mr Komal Samaroo, Dr Leslie Chin, Dr Ian Mc Donald, Mr Laurence Farley, Mr James Morgan and Mrs Amanda Richards.