Economy performed worse than predicted in 2017 – Finance Minister

The Government of Guyana has noted that the growth rate for 2017 was worse than predicted. Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, noted that the country recorded a 2.1% economic growth rate as cmpared to a 3.8 prediction, but, noted that there was some positive growth.

Jordan informed the media that the area which did well was rice, while, bauxite, Gold and other major sectors did not flourish as expected.

The government’s chief economist noted that gold only produced 653,000 ounces and rice producing just over 630,000 tonnes in 2017. He also noted that revenues remain buoyant. However, there has been a significant decline in gold reserves at the Bank of Guyana.

According to 3.2 of the Bureau of Statistical report, table 1.1, gold reserves have declined by 13.1 billion from 15 billion in 2015 when the government took office to 1.9 billion presently.

Jordan noted that the country’s debt continues to be managed in an effective manner, however, the government is about to incur some $32 billion, this is according to Cahirman of the Public Accounts Committee, Irfan Ali. This move by the government will compete with the private sector for scarce resources, he further noted that this move will dry up the liquidity in the system and take up the cost of borrowing, “it will kill the private sector momentum,” he said.

Mr. Ali outlined from the Bureau of Statistics bulletin that the net international reserves of the Bank of Guyana declined from USD$614.1 million in May 2015, to USD$518.5 million in less than three years. The overall deficit in the balance of payment is getting worse every day due to lower export receipt from main commodities.

The Minister assured that a projected target of 3.8% is expected in 2018, same as last year’s failed target. He also noted that the deficit in the GDP is good news and that the country’s debt is being managed effectively.

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