Private sector group wants more engagement with government

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Feb 17, CMC – The Private Sector Commission (PSC) is calling on the David Granger government to engage the business community as it develops policies for the future socio-economic development of Guyana.In a statement, the PSC also said that its membership had “expressed a lack of confidence in the manner the Government is managing the economy” noting that “this is reflected in the flight of capital from Guyana and the lack of significant new investments in the last two years.”
The statement followed a meeting held of the PSC membership on Monday  \, with the business group calling on the coalition government here to urgently fix the conditions to ensure businesses thrive and the national economy grows with the aim of reversing  the growing lack of confidence.
“We would like to see Government create the enabling environment and engage the business community much more so that together we can facilitate the creation of employment opportunities, have wage growth and put in measures to increase wealth of all Guyanese.
“Guyana cannot continue to improve and sustain growth, if investors’ confidence continues to be eroded. The trajectory in which the country is heading at the moment does not inspire such confidence,” the PSC said.
The business group has also pointed an accusing finger at the government with regards to possible political interference in the judiciary and creating the conditions to violate the constitutional rights of persons through the State Assets Recovery Act (SARA).
It acknowledged the need to recover assets that have been stolen from the State, but warned that that the SARA Bill- which “provides too much unchecked power to the Agency” because the Director of SARA supersedes the Courts, the Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner General of Guyana Revenue Authority.
“The Bill will impede business progress as it allows for harassment and political victimization of legitimate businesses. The Bill allows staff of the Agency to arbitrarily look at private accounts and financial information of citizens without due process. This Bill should be recalled and amended to be consistent with the constitutional rights of citizens.”
But the government has denied the suggestion with the Ministry of the Presidency indicating that the “the opinions of any Private Sector Commission or equivalent should be principled, balanced and near impartial.
“Honest business prefers a fair and principled environment. The passage of this Bill will allow the new Agency to direct a laser-like focus on such assets obtained through corruption; the loss of which has frustrated the development of this country,” the Ministry of the Presidency said.
It said that the SARA Bill is in keeping with Article 54 (1) (c) of the United Nations’ Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), that requires signatory nations to “consider taking such measures as may be necessary to allow confiscation of property without criminal conviction.
“Given the purposes of the Bill and the damaging losses to the economy as stated above, it is imperative that the Bill passed immediately. The scale of corruption discovered by SARU, to date, is astounding. The Guyanese population is eager to see the country’s assets recovered and appropriate action taken against the perpetrators of corruption. The SARA Bill is geared toward these purposes.”

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