2017 Mid-year Report…urges review of taxes, incentives for renewable energy initiativesBy Jarryl BryanThe Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) is warning the Government to make addressing current pressing issues a priority to prevent the economy from faltering and not to be sidetracked by preparations for the coming oil and gas sector.Those warnings came from GMSA President Shyam Nokta, who was addressingGMSA President Shyam Noktabusiness leaders and tax officials at the Association’s business luncheon on Thursday. While oil is a lucrative natural resource, he noted, more attention and effective policies are needed in Guyana’s more traditional sectors.According to Nokta, a four to five per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate is possible with the right administrative policies and corporate decisions from the Private Sector. He noted that this would help with job creation and putting Guyana on a strong economic footing, something the 2017 half-year report showed was wanting.“At the GMSA mid-year dinner, I spoke about our excitement about the potential for oil and gas, but also our concerns with an economy that is slowing and the urgent need to grasp their potential. We need to seek practical measures, so that the economic sectors, including manufacturing and services can help drive a return to strong GDP growth.”Nokta also referred to the resource curse dubbed the “Dutch disease” in his presentation to attendees. The “Dutch disease” can cause a reduction in the value of other exported commodities and is often blamed on the sudden development of one sector at the expense of others.“There is much talk about how the imminent oil and gas sector will change everything in our country. That is true and that is precisely why we need to ensure we build all the institutional defences to defend against the well-known economicThe forestry sector contracted by 18.2 per cent, according to the 2017 half-year reportgovernance risk that oil and gas could bring.”“But on the other hand, our economy could falter if we do not remain focused on the broader imperatives of supporting investments and job creation across all our economic sectors. We need to prepare for oil and gas, but we also need to stay the course to ensure other sectors continue to grow.”Nokta listed some of the issues affecting manufacturers, including unstable electrical supply, access to financing on reasonable terms, high freight costs, and market access. He also called for specific interventions, including incentives and a review of taxes on industries such as forestry, for the 2018 Budget.Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Commissioner General Godfrey Statia was among those present, and Nokta took the opportunity to refer directly to some of the tax measures also affecting growth and frustrating the business community.“Measures such as the recategorising of zero and standard rated items to exempt VAT on electricity and forest products, among others, have impacted the competitiveness of our members and, therefore, the economy.“We raised these issues with Minister (of Finance, Winston) Jordan and proposed some measures. When Budget 2018 is announced, we hope to see progress on priorities such as the removal of VAT on electricity, water, education; targeted assistance for struggling sectors such as forestry through the removal of VAT on forest products.”He also called for consolidated facilities for wood and agro products, in line with the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, and investments into renewable energy to be incentivised.According to Nokta, manufactured products should also be given a larger share in public tenders and there should be stricter adherence to laws which ensure small businesses get at least 20 per cent of public spending when their products and supplies are procured.Half-year reportThe Finance Ministry’s half-year report was released in July of this year. It showed contractions in certain sectors when compared to the corresponding period in 2016. The declining sectors included sugar, livestock, forestry, mining and quarrying, and even bauxite.It showed that sugar production was recorded at 49,606 tonnes at the half year and when compared to the 56,645 tonnes produced during the first half of 2016, represented a decline of 12.4 per cent. The livestock industry also contracted by 10.9 per cent in the first half of 2017, due to heavy rainfall severely affecting production, especially in the second quarter.The forestry industry also showed an 18.2 per cent contraction in the first six months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. Declining production within the forestry industry was a result of structural changes in the industry.The mining and quarrying sector contracted by 4.0 per cent, during the first half of 2017. Gold production fell by 1.7 per cent to 317,096 ounces, in the first half of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. Also, the report showed the bauxite industry declined by 11.5 per cent, as a result of reduced production of higher valued grades.This was a consequence of poor weather combined with mechanical issues at one of the mines. However, production of metal grade bauxite (MAZ) increased by 97,016 tonnes or 21.3 per cent, the report had stated.
Phil Foden bagged a brace for England as they made a sensational comeback to down Spain 5-2 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata to lift their first-ever U-17 World Cup.After Sergio Gomez’s brace, England went 2-0 down as early as the 31st minute but Rhian Brewster pulled one back in the 44th minute to give England the momentum going into the second half.But the young Lions came back strong and Morgan Gibbs White levelled the scoring in the 58th minute. With England pulling two back, they were on the up and hugely backed by the 66,684-strong Kolkata crowd. Callum Hudson Odoi and Foden fed on that and continued the pressure before Foden hit the killer blow and got England’s fourth. However, that was not the end of it, the latter was found by a brillaint pass in the 88th minute by Odoi and put one more past the Spain goalkeeper to put the game to rest.While Brewster, Gibbs White and Foden got the goals, the unsung heroes were Odoi and Ryan Sessegnon. The two players played their hearts out and got the best out of the side.Foden bagged the Golden Ball award while Rhian Brestwer got the Golden Boot for scoring eight goals.Spain have now won the U-20 World Cup, U-19 Euros and U-17 World Cup this year. Also, this was a perfect revenge for the Englishmen, who lost out to Spain in the Euros earlier this year via penalties.And England’s victory was hugely appreciated and congratulated on social media. This is how people reacted:advertisementYessss!!! Congratulations to all involved. Been class throughout the tournament ?????? #worldchampions https://t.co/wp1Pj3a4QE- Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) October 28, 2017Brilliant Scenes… congrats to the #YoungLions ?????? #FIFAU17WC https://t.co/8kY4uzTr60- Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) October 28, 2017England have won the U17 World Cup after beating Spain 5-2…yes Spain. We have a new Golden generation. Well played boys, well played.- Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 28, 2017Congrats to the U17s – a fantastic achievement! ?????? #ThreeLions https://t.co/Fn9vJU1Cxe- Harry Kane (@HKane) October 28, 2017Congrats lads ????? https://t.co/oU71B1QBTy- Jamie Vardy (@vardy7) October 28, 2017Congratulations @AGomes_47 and @England! https://t.co/d46M1ycbhC- Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 28, 2017Well done City and well done young England on becoming World Champions. Joel and Phil get yourselves home, we’ve got a game on Wednesday!- Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) October 28, 2017Congratulations, @RhianBrewster9 – World Cup winner! ??https://t.co/kGHC0OIeXr- Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 28, 2017It’s all over – we are the #FIFAU17WC champions! ?? pic.twitter.com/lS8Cjr6cjn- England (@England) October 28, [email protected] & @RhianBrewster9 You BALLERS ???????????????????? you deserve it lads ???????? Absolutely buzzing @England !! ?????? BEST IN THE WORLD ??????????- Jadon Sancho (@Sanchooo10) October 28, 2017Congratulations England, FIFA U17 World Champions #ENGvESP #FIFAU17WC #FootballTakesOver pic.twitter.com/PoJr0W5qXF- Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) October 28, 2017 With England winning the U-17 World Cup, nine different teams have won the title.Now nine teams have won #FIFAU17WC at least once:Nigeria, Soviet Union, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Brazil, France, Mexico, Switzerland & England!- Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) October 28, 2017Congratulations @england U17’s! Great character shown. Brilliant performances all tournament. World Cup winners! #U17WorldCupfinal ??- Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) October 28, 2017England have won the U17 World Cup after beating Spain 5-2…yes Spain. We have a new Golden generation. Well played boys, well played.- Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 28, 2017Congratulations to the England U17s for winning the #U17WorldCupfinal. Great year for the #YoungLions- Theresa May (@theresa_may) October 28, 2017Congratulations to @England and to our midfielder Emile Smith Rowe – Under-17 World Cup champions! ?? pic.twitter.com/REZOgfdtFM- Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) October 28, 2017?? | Congratulations to @LewisGippa3 and @England Under-17s – World Cup Winners! pic.twitter.com/BXTmWHA6fX- Everton (@Everton) October 28, 2017#U17WorldCupfinal @England Congratulations to England U17’s on winning this World Cup fantastic achievement very proud of them ??????- Peter Shilton (@Peter_Shilton) October 28, [email protected] u17 ?????? massive congratulations boys . Enjoy celebrations- Nathaniel Chalobah (@chalobah) October 28, 2017