Economy expanded by 4.1%

― A solid growth rate- Minister Jordan

― Oil related activities spurring growth

DPI, Guyana, Friday, March 29, 2019

Guyana’s economy grew by 4.1 percent for 2018, according to figures released by Finance Minister Winston Jordan.

Describing the nation’s economic performance as “solid”, Minister Jordan, in an exclusive interview with the Department of Public Information, said the sectors responsible for the “better than expected performance” were sugar, livestock, forestry gold, diamonds (mining) the wholesale and retail trades.

The Finance Minister noted, “it is the first time under this government that we have crossed the threshold, 4 percent and I think it is a significant achievement for last year and will clearly put among the top performers, in the Caribbean for last year.”

Last year’s growth came on the heels of a less than three percent GDP growth rate in 2017 and surpasses the projected performance of 3.4 percent in November of 2018. The latter was based on figures at hand and projections explained Minister Jordan. He recalled some of the challenges of the previous year such as the reforms implemented to stop the “haemorrhaging” of the sugar sector; in the quality of ore in the gold mining sector, fluctuating international prices and poor-quality access roads.

The Minister noted that forestry, for example, gained as the government had allocated funds to rehabilitate many hinterland access roads. This, he said, enabled the forestry sector to benefit. The sector also gained from the move to redistribute lands, formerly controlled by the BaiShanLin Company to smaller operators who seized the opportunity to utilise the tracts of forests.

Moving forward, he stated that sectors such as sugar are expected to continue its stabilisation and rebound, along with bauxite. The latter, Minister Jordan said should be on target despite the, now resolved labour, disputes.

The fact that the economy has expanded, despite the “bleating of some naysayers”, the minister said, is a clear sign that the policies and measures being put in place are effective. He added that the economic performance, which has been praised by the Caribbean Development Bank, for example, demonstrates that the Coalition Government is on the right track, even as it prepares for first oil in 2020.

According to the Finance Minister, growth is also spurred by the increase in “oil-related activities”. He cited reports which indicate that financial and insurance activities, for example, are showing growth; adding that many are aware of the infrastructural boom with many new structures, such as apartment buildings, for example, under construction. The fact that local beverage giants, Banks DIH and Demerara Distillers Limited are recording profits and expanding operations and even the profits reported by commercial banks, are also telling signs, Minister Jordan stated.

The Finance Minister said that even the naysayers, and some of those trying to cast a pall over the economy, “are quietly investing behind the scenes.”

It is projected that the GDP’s growth rate will be 4.4 percent in 2019.

The annual economic reports which have been produced since the government took office in 2015 will be done as is customary, the minister emphasised. He pointed out that the 2016 Report was produced on April 13, the 2017 Report on April 12, and the 2018 Report will be done before the end of April 2019.

Paul McAdam

Image: The Department of Public Information