Govt to give incentives to push investments in health sector – President Ali

Govt to give incentives to push investments in health sector – President Ali


(GuyanaTimes) With Guyana on the tip of unprecedented economic growth, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government is pushing to diversify the economy.
Against this backdrop, President Dr Irfaan Ali recently announced that his Government will give more incentives to push Private Sector investments in the health tourism sector.
During his address at the recently launched Canada-Guyana Chamber of Commerce, President Ali urged foreign investors to explore opportunities outside the oil and gas sector for investments. He posited that his Administration will create “new types of businesses”.
According to the Head of State, health tourism is a thriving sector that Guyana can tap into. He pointed to the important role health tourism plays in India’s business sector. In fact, he highlighted that a high percentage of the market is taken up by the Indian diaspora in both the United States and Canada.
“We are five and six hours away from those two countries. The local Private Sector needs to get aggressive and get to those Indian providers, and other providers of similar nature and make the investments there. We are closer to the markets. We can reach the market faster, we’re in the same time zone, we have the skillset that can be complimented. We just have to have the will and the drive to get it done,” he asserted.

Indian High Commissioner to Guyana Dr KJ Srinivasa

On this note, President Ali stated: “We are going to give more and more incentives to create opportunities in the health and education sector.”
He referenced the example of the teaching hospital in St George’s, Grenada.
“The formula is very simple. They use internationally renowned names and it becomes attractive, and you get the accreditation. Now that we have this relationship between Guyana and Canada, we should seek to get the accreditation from Canada. Let us list what is needed to get the accreditation from Canada. Let us get the accreditation and create a new opportunity. A whole new area; a whole new opportunity is here,” the Guyanese leader told the membership of the Canada-Guyana Chamber of Commerce.
The President further outlined that with the road link to Brazil and the bridge across the Corentyne River to Suriname in the making, enormous market potential would be created from these services.
“You have many North American students who go to universities in other countries. It’s a business; opportunities are there. We have to not only target those opportunities but to go aggressively go after those opportunities,” President Ali asserted.

An artist’s impression of the specialty hospital which was conceptualised under the PPP/C Govt

The Donald Ramotar Administration had initiated the construction of a specialty hospital in Guyana with the hopes of it becoming a catalyst in creating the much needed “health tourism” in Guyana by pulling foreigners and overseas-based Guyanese to the country. But the project was later scrapped under the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government.
With a US$18 million line of credit (LOC) from the India Export/Import (EXIM) Bank, the contract for construction of the hospital was awarded to India-based company, Surendra Engineering Corporation Limited back in 2012.
However, citing instances of alleged fraud and delays, the Ramotar Government in 2014 announced that it had terminated the contract with the India-based company and subsequently filed a lawsuit against it for failing to honour its obligations.
While in Opposition, both the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC), before they collated, were against the project and upon their assumption to office in 2015, a decision was taken to scrap the project, which had already expended some US$4 million on preliminary works.
This was after the contract was given to Fedders Lloyd Corporation Limited – which was handpicked by the coalition Administration. But the company was subsequently blacklisted by the World Bank in 2016 for four years over fraud and corrupt practices.
The coalition Government then approached India to divert the remaining US$13.8 million towards improving the country’s primary healthcare service by upgrading three public hospitals across the country.
In May of 2017, then Finance Minister Winston Jordan had declared that the specialty hospital project was “dead”.
But during an exclusive interview with Guyana Times last month, Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr KJ Srinivasa indicated that the idea of Guyana getting such a facility is still in the cards.
“The idea of a specialty hospital is still there. So, we are to see whether it will be a line of credit or a private participation. So, these are the things which we are working with the Ministry of Health at this time,” High Commissioner Srinivasa stated.
The Indian diplomat explained that such a facility is needed in Guyana because it not only provides specialised care for patients but also increases the possibility of the country becoming a hub for medical tourism.
“I think if Guyana gets that specialty hospital it will be an attractive hub for medical tourism. In fact, India has – people will deem it a bit humourous – we have a visa called medical tourism visa…it’s a medical tourism visa where people actually go to India for elective surgeries, treatments, consultations and do tourism also and then come back that’s why it is called medical tourism and people actually, you know, they go in droves from many countries across the world,” Dr Srinivasa had said.
However, back in October, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony had revealed that there is significant local and foreign interest from the Private Sector in constructing specialty hospitals in Guyana.
“We are very favourable to such investments [in a specialty hospital] and we’re hoping that we can start working with those Private Sector companies to start realising them. And if there are others who want to come in, we’ll be happy to review and offer advice and see how we can enable them to invest,” Dr Anthony has stated.
At least one company, Cardiology Services Incorporated, headed by renowned Guyanese Cardiologist Dr Mahendra Carpen, has publicly indicated its interest in building a specialty hospital in Guyana.
But, the company was unwittingly vested with land under the former APNU/AFC Government by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), while the Granger Government was in a caretaker mode.
With the change of Government, the company has since said it would return the land it acquired to ensure there is a fair and transparent land allocation process. Dr Carpen nevertheless signalled his intention to work with the PPP/C Government to bring the specialty hospital to fruition.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial