The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has been keenly observing and analyzing the prevailing market conditions which have been severely afflicted by the global pandemic. The novel Coronavirus has, in particular, greatly impacted shipping and shipping prices globally.
Consequently, we observed shipping prices increasing by six (6), and in some cases, ten (10) times the pre-pandemic level. This created a sharp impact on the cost at which products are being provided on the domestic market. When goods arrived in Guyana at this increased cost, duties and other charges were then levied on the ‘Cost-Insurance-Freight’ (CIF) value. With the ‘Freight’ component of this value reaching record heights, the concomitant duties and charges caused increased cost of goods in the country. This regime, compounded by an ever-increasing global price environment, created a case where global inflation was being “imported” into Guyana.
In this regard, the GCCI, requested to the Government of Guyana that consideration be given to apply duties and charges to the ‘Free-on-Board’ (FOB) value which assesses the value of the cost of the goods only as opposed to the CIF value. On Monday, 9th August, 2021, at the instruction of His Excellency the President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, the Government of Guyana sought to ease the burden of increased shipping cost by restoring shipping charges to the pre-pandemic level of charges. This is expected to ease the burden on both the private sector and consumers.
The GCCI would like to thank the Government of Guyana for this relief measure which can be expected to stop any potential erosion to welfare of the citizens of Guyana as a result of the global environment. The Chamber of Commerce would like to take this opportunity to strongly urge importers to not behave in an unscrupulous and unpatriotic manner by profiteering off of a measure designed to ease the burden on the Guyanese people. The GCCI urges that these benefits be translated to the consumer who, through greater disposable income, will serve to continue the drive in rebooting the Guyanese economy out of the difficult economic fallout which occurred as a result of COVID-19 and the prevailing global conditions. The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry wishes to reiterate that it stands ready, as a partner in development, to continue to support the growth of Guyana.