GMSA AGM hears…as GMSA sees 14% membership growthMinister of State, Joseph Harmon said Government was working with the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission to enforce compliance with the Consumer Affairs Act to target, among other things, price fixing, conspiracy, dumping of inferior and harmful products, and misleading advertisements.He noted this move was to protect consumers from errant Private Sector operatives.The Minister made the statement following a call by former Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) President Ramesh Dookhoo for theOutgoing President Shyam Nokta addressing stakeholdersimplementation of anti-dumping legislation. He made the call at the GMSA’s Annual General Meeting at the Pegasus Hotel on Wednesday.“We need to introduce anti-dumping legislation in Guyana. We have been preaching this for 10 years… we have moved from a state where we never had anything in 1985 and now we moved to a stage where we import everything. It don’t matter what the standard is. We import everything into Guyana,” Dookhoo noted.He said the Private Sector would have written letters to over six Ministers during various Governments pleading with them to provide the relative framework to combat the dumping issue, but had no success.Providing an example, Dookhoo, who is an executive at Banks DIH, said there was currently a beer on the market selling six for $1000 causing unfair competition.In response, Minister Harmon urged the Private Sector to ensure there were noA section of the stakeholdersdouble standards when the Government fully implemented measures to tackle dumping.“I recall last year when certain arms within the Government started to take steps to clamp down on dumping, many of us here in the Private Sector cried foul. When people were bringing items that were mislabelled and passing it off on the Guyanese consumers, we were castigated about that, but it is the responsibility of the Government and I must say that it is your responsibility as the GMSA to ensure that consumers are protected from these vile practices,” Harmon indicated.Addressing stakeholders was outgoing GMSA President Shyam Nokta, who noted that despite several measures implemented in the 2018 Budget, most of the proposed measures critical to the manufacturing process and the overall growth of the sector were still outstanding. He added that at the end of June 2017, light manufacturing had marginally grown from 1.3 per cent to 1.9 per cent with a 2.4 per cent projected growth for 2018.“We are still waiting for full-year statistics from the Bank of Guyana for 2017,” Nokta noted.He added that key barriers to the manufacturing sector continued to prevail, but explained that they were being addressed through the Ministerial Roundtable engagement with Finance Minister Winston Jordan. Additionally, Nokta explained that the GMSA advocated for the removal of Valued Added Tax (VAT) on electricity as well as for locally manufactured items to be given a greater share in public procurement.“In addition to the removal of VAT on electricity, to have adjusted/reduced tariffs for manufacturing entities based on performance thresholds and incentives for renewable energy technologies most critical for urgent action to address the transmission and distribution system and advance mature and feasible initiatives for renewable energy,” Nokta said.He also called for the Government to include the GMSA in the booming oil and gas sector, adding that a local content framework was integral to ensuring that local businesses benefit from the opportunities offered by the sector.Nokta also revealed that in addition to raising the profile of the GMSA, they have been able to spark renewed interest among existing members as well as encourage new members. He revealed that at the end of February 2018, the GMSA would have seen its membership growing by 14 per cent.
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