Fishing skills

Local economies benefit more from skills development

Dear Editor,

Our country would benefit more from implementing the philosophy taught by the old Navajo proverb “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day.” Teach a man to fish and you will feed him all his life.” This philosophy ensures that future generations will have the knowledge to improve the financial independence of their families. Less reliance on governments for donations, which may or may not be there, in the future, will help villages become stronger through increased self-reliance from developing skills to generate local economic activity. Anything that comes from government, in addition to strong infrastructure, access to finance, good health care and access to export markets, is the icing on the cake.

All economic activity is best supported by entrepreneurial activity that is nurtured and enabled by government. This increases employment, ensures increased use of local resources, increases innovation and increases value creation via a strong wealth creation multiplier. The local content approach adopted offers opportunities to strengthen skills development. Some have argued that the government should not distribute funds to the people. If economic theory is true, then the multiplier effect of access to finance will increase economic activity and strengthen local economies. Reducing imports helps ensure that the local economy benefits from increased spending, otherwise the economic multiplier will have a stronger impact overseas.

As the government develops local infrastructure, simultaneously capturing export contracts in areas such as jewelry, furniture, agricultural products, fishing, foodstuffs and clothing becomes more important. These are just a few examples, but as local skills development increases with its enabling infrastructure, value-added products, ready for local consumption and export, will also increase. As these value-added products increase, government priorities must change to ensure that international standards are met through the implementation of a certification process where international standards are met. As more and more suppliers become certified, access to confirmed supplier contracts is essential to ensure that demand is both generated and accessible.

Trade agreements, which are the role of government, must be a top priority in the future so that demand generation precedes investment and supply generation. We need to change the mindset from ‘build it and they will come’ to ‘tell me what your future needs are and we’ll provide you with a guaranteed long-term contract’. As this path of economic development progresses, it must be accompanied by a transparent tendering and supplier selection process. Government must play a greater role in this process using the economic philosophy that best suits our culture and stage of development. Awarding a minimum number of suppliers for each contract will also ensure that supply risk is reduced and local economic activity is not restricted.

jamil changlee
The Cooperative Republicans of Guyana