Mall dream unfolds
By Chamanlall Naipaul
April 15, 2004
BARTICA has become the proud home of Guyana’s first modern shopping mall which was the dream and vision of local entrepreneur, Mr. Mohamed ‘Tarzie’ Ghanie and his family.
The spanking white two-flat concrete building was exquisitely designed using modern architecture and houses 27 stores, all of which have been occupied.
The multi-million-dollar mall offers a wide variety of goods for sale, including food and beverages, clothing, haberdashery, electrical equipment and a host of other items.
Proud and eager Barticians in large numbers gathered at First Avenue yesterday morning to witness the official opening of the mall which was done by President Bharrat Jagdeo.
The President observed that the huge investment by the Ghanie family is a demonstration of their commitment to their community and country.
“Guyana needs more people with such entrepreneurial skills,” the President urged, adding that every business venture has a “risk element” which can only be handled by entrepreneurial skills.
The Government is committed towards promoting private sector development, the President assured.
However, President Jagdeo asserted that the biggest concern for the business community is sound macro-economic management.
Expanding on this theme, the President explained that because of fiscal prudence the inflation rate which in the pre-1992 period was in excess of 100%, has been brought down to single digit.
In addition, budgetary deficit which was about 25% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has now been brought to more healthy and manageable levels, the President said.
These measures, he pointed out, have resulted in stabilising the currency exchange rate and reducing the interest rate on bank loans from 38% to about 14%.
Thus businesses can now have access to sustainable loans to establish new enterprises or expand existing ones, the President offered.
He also alluded to the importance of the education sector in providing a skilled labour force, noting that this is essential for a productive and efficient private sector.
The President said that in recognition of this, his government has been increasingly allocating more funding for the education sector and pointed out that present expenditure is $14B compared to about $1B in 1992.
He also noted that infrastructure development is a key component of economic development, and the government has secured $100B over the next five years for this purpose.
Despite the negative impression being touted in some quarters, the President asserted: “My Government is going places”, adding that it is necessary to remain positive despite challenges.