The Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) commended the PPP/C administration on Friday for its recent signing of agreements to establish a $900M revolving fund for the forestry sector. The signing took place between representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Demerara Bank Limited.
GMSA said the establishment of this fund is opportune and will undoubtedly close the gap in financing, which is necessary to boost the forestry sector, improve production capacity and meet the increased demand for forestry products domestically, regionally and internationally.
The GMSA’s Forestry Subsector was keen to note that it has been working diligently over the past years for an alternative access to affordable finance. Collectively, the Ministry of Natural Resources through the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has been working with the GMSA to help identify causes for low production of logs and wood processing.
Subsequent to several weeks of consultation with all stakeholders, it was identified that the existing and direct hindrance is lack of adequate financial resources. Many operators only have sufficient funds to produce limited stock of raw materials and finished products which can have a negative impact on the availability of finished goods for market consumption. The stakeholders consulted include loggers, sawmillers and manufacturers who are all part of the growing value chain. This economic incentive is an excellent opportunity for business growth and development, especially for companies that are pursuing more downstream processing of value-added products.
Recently, GMSA said it has witnessed major interest in finished goods, especially in the construction and housing sectors in the Caribbean, coupled with the rapid increase of housing construction in Guyana. The association said too that it will continue to advocate for expansion of this financial model into other key sectors such as Agro-Processing.
The association also commended Demerara Bank Limited for its role in funding the development and promotion of the Forestry Sector with its injection of $600M.
It said the success of this financing programme can be a catalyst for other financial institutions to follow, to provide assistance to local entrepreneurs and small-medium sized businesses.