Considering the fact that oil is a finite resource, Executive Chairman for CGX (Guyana) Energy, Professor Suresh Narine posits that Guyana must begin to position itself early to build sustainable industries such as manufacturing and agro-processing. To do so, he believes that steps should be taken to ensure that a portion of the oil money is used to provide incentives that would stimulate growth in these sectors well beyond oil.
During an interview on a local radio programme today, Professor Narine said, “We already have a regime where if you invest in agro-processing, its tax-free for the capital equipment. But in order to incentivize a new generation of farmers and food processors, we should go further…We should use the capital from the oil industry to incentivize income taxes. We should use it to incentivize VAT-free (inputs) for locally produced products.”
He added, “Make it unambiguous and remove the opaque language that we see when we line up for even current products that are delisted for VAT…”
The CGX Head also believes that further steps can be taken to harness the nation’s ability to grow wholesome and safe food and to ensure food continuity. In this regard, he said that every single national institution in the country where the taxpayers are hosting the bill for their upkeep should be required to justify why if a local product reaches quality standards and has a competitive price it is being supplanted by a foreign import. Professor Narine said the government can start at that point while noting that it is a low-hanging fruit.
Professor Narine added,”… If we can’t do that as a nation then we are being extremely myopic to our detriment.”