To start a business in Guyana, investors must comply with the administrative procedures established under the relevant business acts. Compared to a sample of other countries in the region, the procedures and time required to start a business are low compared to the mean, and relatively consistent with the median. Table 3.11 shows data from the World Bank Doing Business Guide 2005. This section provides an overview of the most salient aspects of this process. More details on business start-up are found on GO-Invest’s website

Forms of Ownership
Forms of business ownership include single ownership (i.e., sole proprietorship), partnership (in any form), and company (incorporated businesses both domestic and foreign). No regulations govern the proportion of ownership by partners or joint ventures in a partnership. Rather, the individual concerned has the right to choose whether to invest alone or to have partners, and to determine the form of that relationship. With regards to a private incorporated company, there must be at least 1 and no more than 20 shareholders. There are no restrictions on the nationality of shareholders. The company’s capital structure may comprise more than one class of shares including redeemable preference shares, with such conditions as the articles may provide. Shares in a company are without nominal or par value.

The Business Names (Registration) Act and the Partnership Act are the governing regulatory documents for single ownerships, partnerships, and companies. The Companies Act (9/91) governs the registration of an incorporated business. Though three different acts address the different business types, the government office for business registration of any kind is the Deeds Registry in Georgetown.

Incorporation, Registration and Fees
The process for incorporating a business is relatively straightforward, and takes, on average, approximately 8 days. Incorporated or foreign firms may wish to engage a competent lawyer to facilitate the process and save time. Registering a foreign company requires additional steps. Appendix 3 provides a summary of the information and documents required to incorporate and register a foreign or “external” company in Guyana, as well the pertinent fees.

An investor (foreign or domestic) is free to exit from a venture in accordance with the law. Unlike other Caribbean jurisdictions, the law relating to the liquidation of companies is embodied in the Companies Act. Under this Act, a company may be wound up either by an order of the Court or voluntarily. In bankruptcy proceedings, additional obligations may be imposed on directors, managers or principal officers of an external company who reside in Guyana.

All businesses operating in Guyana—except for those benefiting from tax-related investment incentives—are liable to taxation. As elsewhere, taxes generally fall into two broad categories, direct and indirect. Direct taxes include income tax and corporation tax, while indirect taxes include property tax, capital gains tax, consumption tax (to be replaced with a VAT) and a number of product and service related taxes (e.g. excise taxes, travel taxes, hotel accommodation tax, entertainment tax, telephone tax, etc), many of which will also be replaced by the VAT. Table 3.12 provides a summary of the taxes most likely to impact investors.

For further information on these and other regulations check out our “Regulatory Framework” page

Your Incorporation Guide

Information and Documents Required to Incorporate a Company

  1. The proposed name of the company
  2. The proposed address of the registered office in Guyana
  3. The classes and any maximum number of shares that the Company is authorized to issue
  4. Registration of shares, if any
  5. Number (or minimum/maximum) of Directors
  6.  Restrictions on business the company may carry out, if any
  7. The names, addresses, occupations and signatories of incorporators
  8. The names and addresses of Directors and Secretary

Fill out your registration form  pdf19

Information and Documents Required to Register a Foreign or “External” Firm

  1. The name of the company
  2. The jurisdiction within which the company was incorporated
  3. The date of its incorporation
  4. The manner in which it was incorporated
  5. The particulars of its corporate instruments
  6. The period, if any, fixed by its corporate instruments for the duration of the company
  7. The extent, if any, to which the liability of the shareholders/members of the company is limited
  8. The undertaking that the company will carry out in Guyana
  9. The date on which the company intends to commence its undertakings in Guyana
  10. The authorized, subscribed and paid-up or stated capital of the company and the shares that the company is authorized to issue and their nominal or par value, if any
  11. The full address of the registered or head office of the companies outside Guyana
  12. The full address of the principal office of the company in Guyana
  13. The full names, addresses and occupations of the directors of the company

Company Registration Fees

Company Registration   Fees
Share capital fee – G$1 to G$500,000 G$25,000
– Greater than G$500,0006 percent of share capital
Duty on share capital0.5 percent of share capital
Certificate of IncorporationG$30,000
Notice of DirectorsG$800
Notice of SecretaryG$800
Declaration of ComplianceG$800
Changes to any of the aboveG$800
External Company RegistrationFees
Share capital fee – G$1 to G$1 millionG$80,000
– G$ 1 million to G$3 millionG$150,000
– Greater than G$3 millionG$300,000
Changing Share CapitalFees
Share capital fee – Up to G$10 million2 percent of additional share capital
– Greater than G$10 million1 percent of additional share capital
Duty on share capital0.5 percent of share capital
Certificate of Increased CapitalG$800

Share thi

Our Regulatory Framework for Investments

Like other countries, Guyana has a number of laws, regulations and administrative processes that govern the investment regime (i.e., locating, operating, finance, and import and export of goods). Click here for a list of laws and regulations that concern the start-up and operation of a business in Guyana.This section provides an overview of Guyana’s regulatory framework, within the sequence of procedures an investor may consider when deciding to locate a business in Guyana. More detailed information and assistance can be obtained from GO-Invest, Ministry of Business, or other regulatory bodies.The Government has continued to take steps to improve the regulatory climate, with recent developments including reducing the number of necessary trade licenses, passing a Value-added Tax bill in 2005, the Investment Act of 2004, the Small Business Act of 2004, and a Competition and Fair Trading Bill (due to be passed by May 2006). Furthermore, as part of the recent NCS process, the Government is strengthening regulatory and administrative processes as well as improving the environment for public-private dialogue through the establishment of a National Competitiveness Council.

Investment Framework

With few exceptions (e.g. small and medium scale mining), foreign and domestic investors receive equitable treatment and both have the right to establish, own and operate business enterprises, and to engage in all forms of economic activity.* Guyana offers investors a number of incentives, guaranteed by the law. GO-Invest, a semi-autonomous body under the direct purview of the Ministry of Business, is the primary contact for investors and is mandated to facilitate the investment process for them.

Investment Act 2004
The Investment Act of 2004 is the principal legislation governing investment in Guyana and is intended to play a reassuring role for investors by providing legal protection for investment, increasing the predictability, stability and transparency of the legal regime for investment, promoting the development of international best practices regarding investment, and streamlining the existing procedures for investment. Specifically, the Act provides assurances that:

  • There is no discrimination between foreign and domestic investors
  • Investors may invest in all fields of lawful economic activity
  • Investments may be made in existing enterprises—both joint ventures and wholly-owned—by domestic or foreign investors
  • Private investments are guaranteed by the Government
  • Expropriation can only take place as permitted under the laws of Guyana, promulgated on a non-discriminatory basis and providing for fair and prompt compensation
  • Proceeds and profits from investments may be freely repatriated out of country and business expenses in foreign currency are permitted. Limitations may be placed on enterprises that are under bankruptcy proceedings, have been declared insolvent, or when the investor has pending criminal proceedings
  • Investors can hire foreign personnel and have the right to repatriate their net earnings
  • Intellectual and property rights of investors are guaranteed under Guyanese law
  • In cases of disputes, mediation is the recommended form of conflict resolution. However, if settlement is not made amicably, the investor may seek international arbitration under the rules of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)

* – A few limitations do exist in the mining and finance sectors. In the former, investment in small and medium sized operations is restricted unless a joint partnership exists. In the latter, foreigners must receive approval to obtain loans greater than US$10,000.

Investment Incentives
Guyana offers investors a range of incentives for new investment. The majority of investment incentives are in the form of tax incentives (see Taxation section below). Firms interested in finding out which incentives they are entitled to should contact GO-Invest.

Bilateral Investment Treaties
Guyana has entered into Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements with the UK, Germany, the Peoples’ Republic of China, and Cuba.


Guyana offers foreign investors the flexibility and advantage (as the particular situation may warrant) to purchase or lease land. Foreigners are treated the same as domestic investors when attempting to acquire or lease property. The Status of Aliens Act legislates that foreigners be treated the same as Guyanese citizens in the ownership and disposition of all movable and immovable property.

There are four types of land in Guyana: state-owned, government owned, private transported or titled land, and industrial estates. The process for acquiring or leasing land depends on its classification. In most cases, state and government owned lands are leased rather than sold, through an application process that involves the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), GO-Invest and other regulatory bodies. Private transactions are generally carried out between lawyers for the buyer and seller.

There are two operating government-managed industrial estates in Guyana—Eccles and Coldingen—and others in development, including estates in Lethem and Belvedere that have various levels of infrastructure and services available for investors (see Box 3.4 for details on the specific estates).

Businesses at these locations enjoy favorable terms and conditions, which are available to both local and foreign investors. This includes 99-year lease agreements with the following terms:

  • Annual Rent of G$1.00/US$.005/sq. foot
  • Concessions on building materials, vehicles, plant and machinery
  • The investor is responsible for reimbursing 25 percent of the costs of basic infrastructure, currently ranging between G$153/US$0.76 to G$210/US$1.06 per sq. foot

The allocation of the plots at the industrial estates is based on a variety of criteria, including macroeconomic impact (e.g. export potential, employment generation, import substitution, utilization of local resources), project parameters (e.g. nature and scope of project, level of investment, types of products/services), and the applicant’s profile. Applications are filed with MinTIC, with GO-Invest facilitating on behalf of investors. Further sites may be developed on a demand-driven basis.

In addition to the industrial estates, the Government is developing 600,000 acres (250,000 hectares) of Intermediate Savannahs, with very good agricultural potential. It is offering investors access to land under very favorable terms for undertaking specific agricultural related projects. Interested investors should contact GO-Invest to obtain pertinent information.

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