Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Eddie Boyer, said in order for the manufacturing sector to grow at the rate it should, greater efficiency in the delivery of Government services would be a major contributing factor.He made the statement at the Annual General Meeting of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) on Wednesday. Boyer noted that the PSC and the GMSA have been working closely for the development of the sector.He explained, in response to the ban on catfish export to the United States, that the GMSA in collaboration with the University of Hawaii embarked on two training sessions to have stakeholders examine the requirements of the US Food Safety Modernisation Act. Boyer called on the GMSA to ensure that they maintain and further develop small manufacturing businesses along with the agricultural sector, despite the focus being on the booming oil and gas sector.“Labour is becoming more costly and if manufacturing is going to survive and grow there are numerous things that Government should address.Among these are how do we get more efficient… some manufacturers are not paying [Value Added Tax] VAT and other taxes and this is making competition very unfair… there is a need for cheaper and reliable energy… even and fair taxation policy is needed,” Boyer noted.Meanwhile, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said for the economy to diversify, the members of the GMSA should be more innovative in relation to the techniques and technology they apply in their production processes. He notes this is to ensure the sustainability of the raw materials, even as they seek to lower productions costs.“It is the Government’s vision that the value or benefits derived from the oil and gas sector will be used to propel the other sectors in particular agriculture; will be used to propel our public infrastructure programme so people could travel from East to West, North to South; will be used to propel our education system so we can produce an educated population where people will be able to take up jobs in the commanding heights in the oil and gas industry,” Harmon said.“We recognise that energy is important. We believe that the availability of cheap reliable energy supply is crucial to sustaining and improving our manufacturing capacity. The development of the energy landscape is inextricable linked to stable, reliable and affordable power supply in an environmentally sustainable manner,” he added.Additionally, GMSA President Shyam Nokta told the AGM that US oil giant ExxonMobil has committed its support for the Association’s ‘Uncapped’ intitative.
Also on the local front, mining and oil and gas have helped to ensure communities like Fort Nelson and Chetwynd, which were hit by forest layoffs, are now experiencing growth and excellent employment numbers. Likewise, the economies of Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, and Tumbler Ridge are thriving. The significant challenge in many areas is actually the severe shortage of skilled and unskilled labour. Yet, aside from the positive activities I’m viewing locally, the hard economic facts indicate Canada overall is thus far resistant to the economic storm to the south.While many countries are seeing their economies shrink, the Bank of Canada has forecast economic growth for our nation this year at one per cent. Plus, Canada has the fastest employment growth among G7 countries, which has contributed to one of the highest standards of living in the world. Not bad in the midst of these tough global markets.Advertisement MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.Local and National Economy on Solid FootingI’m feeling optimistic about Canada’s economy. – Advertisement -We’re certainly not immune to the current challenges facing the global economy. Our forest-dependent communities like Mackenzie are harsh evidence of that, and all levels of government continue to focus on ways to turn those local economies around. The fact that certain sectors of our economy are slowing should come as no surprise. Canada is not an island. However, I believe Canada is well-positioned to weather the global economic turmoil and to keep building towards future growth and prosperity.I admit, I wondered if perhaps my positive outlook was influenced by the past number of weeks spent travelling throughout the most beautiful riding in the country and talking to the “can-do”, hard-working people who make northeastern BC their home. Who wouldn’t feel hopeful under those circumstances?Advertisement Our Conservative Government’s fiscal management plan that for two-and-a-half years has been laying the ground work for growth while ensuring we are prepared for leaner times, is a major contributor to Canada’s comparatively brighter future.We have created an environment that rewards hard work, encourages growth and spurs further job creation through broad-based, permanent tax relief, significant and aggressive debt reduction and a new fiscal management that delivers focussed and controlled government spending. We delivered almost $200-billion in tax relief for individuals, families and businesses. And we’ve invested heavily in vital infrastructure so that communities don’t have the added worry of a future with the crumbling bridges, roads and highways that impede growth and potential.In the coming months, we expect revenue growth will pick-up and spending growth will moderate. And yes, we expect a more modest surplus in 2008-2009. Recent “warnings” and criticism that Canada’s budgetary surplus will be smaller this fiscal year puzzles me. A massive surplus is NOT a positive indicator. Massive budget surpluses are created by massive over-taxation … that’s your hard-earned money! The last thing our economy needs in an uncertain global climate is massive new taxation, like the kind proposed by all of the three federal opposition parties. The Conservative Government has delivered three consecutive balanced budgets and we will continue to do so … but it won’t be done on the backs of taxpayers!