Country’s Balance of Payment improved –Finance Minister

Georgetown, GINA, August 12, 2016

Guyana’s economy continues to be on a positive growth path, despite contraction in the agriculture sector, mainly due to El Nino, and a shift in inflation. The mid-year report recently released, indicates that the ratio of Guyana’s income versus expenditure has shown positive growth.

“Balance of payment has improved to a surplus of US $12.1 M from a deficit last year at the same time of US$58.1M. Our reserves are healthy. These have been up to US$634.6M from US$626.9M at the same time last year, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan told media operatives at the release of the mid- year report.

Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan

Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan

“In terms of our broad money which includes cash demand, deposits, time and savings deposits this grew by 1.8 percent. Our inflation last year as you remember we had a bit of deflation at the half of the year; we had inflation 1.1percent at the half- year, credit to the private sector has increased 3.9 percent,  a push by personal lending which went up by 19.3 percent, and mortgage lending which went up by 4.9percent,” Minister Jordan explained.

The country’s overall economic performance can be credited to an upsurge in gold declaration and prices coupled with all round improvement in the mining sector, the Minister stated.

Although there has been a one percent increase in public debt over the corresponding period for 2015, the amount by which government expenses exceed income has seen a 50% reduction.

The nation’s external public debt has declined by 2.7% or US $1,175.1M, due mainly to the repayment of oil debts owing to Venezuela through shipment of rice and paddy to that country.

“Overall fiscal surplus was cut in half from $17.9 billion last year to $8.8 billion this year. There’s a story behind that, essentially … revenue collection has increased by 9.7 percent at the first half of the year. Our non-interest expenditure increased by 32.9 percent and capital expenditure increased by 89.4 percent,” explained Minister Jordan.

The country’s GDP was projected to grow by 4.4% for 2016, a projection made in January this year when the Finance Minister presented a $230 billion national budget however, because of contractions in the agriculture sector, anticipated GDP growth has been adjusted to 4%, an amount the Finance Minister still sees as ‘surpassable.’