Budgets 2020, 2021 boosted confidence in Guyana’s economic outlook –Finance Minister

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh says Budgets 2020 and 2021 were responsible for the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) improved economic outlook for Guyana.

The Minister made this statement in an invited comment on the side-lines of an event on Wednesday.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh

The IMF had initially projected that the country’s economy would grow by 8.1 per cent in 2021. Its recent World Economic Outlook 2021 report has however, upped that figure to 16.4 per cent.   

“So, the last time the IMF would have done their forecast on the Guyanese economy, which I think would have been around September/October 2020, there would have been a lot of uncertainty and perhaps, less clarity on where the country was going and what the prospects and opportunities for the country would be.”

Since then, he said, the budgets have clearly outlined the Government’s plans and position on key issues, resolving any uncertainties.

Minister Singh noted that the IMF’s projection is only marginally lower than the Government’s. The PPP/C Government expects the economy to grow by 20.9 per cent this year, a 4.5 per cent difference.

“Obviously, it’s very high growth, growth at that level. Between 17 per cent and 20 per cent is very strong growth so there is a very close convergence.

Parliament of Guyana, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre

The IMF growth projection is slightly more conservative than the Government, but what they both point to is a very strong positive growth outlook for the economy in 2021,” Dr. Singh said.

The IMF periodically updates its outlook on economic growth for a given year, for all recognised countries.

Since oil production started in late 2019, the IMF has produced economic outlook reports which project significant growth for Guyana, despite the protracted economic uncertainties, which began after the December 21, 2018 confidence motion.  The motion was followed by a series of court cases and a five-month-long electoral saga, culminating in attempts to alter the results of the March 2, 2020 elections.

The IMF had initially projected 86 per cent economic growth for Guyana in 2020. However, that growth was reduced by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the absence of a budget for most of the year, and the protracted electoral saga.