Government has not defaulted on public debt repayment-Min Jordan

GINA, Guyana, Monday, October 17, 2016

Minister of Finance Winston Jordan at a recent press conference said that government’s repayment of public debt was up to date and not in default as reported by some sections of the media.

Hon. Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan displaying a copy of the  Medium Term Debt Report which was laid before cabinet

Hon. Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan displaying a copy of the Medium Term Debt Report which was laid before cabinet

“Guyana is up to date with every single creditor except those of the Paris Club with which we have not been able to reach agreement. Under the Paris Club terms we cannot accept less than 90 percent write-off of any outstanding bilateral debt. Some of these countries are not willing to give us 90 percent. In the case of one country they wouldn’t agree to give 1 percent so for those countries we cannot have a settlement. Every creditor is paid on time; we have not defaulted on any creditor’s debt,” Jordan explained.

Further, the Finance Minister attributed the misinformation to statements made in the Auditor General’s report for the fiscal year 2015.

“If it is the Auditor General was referring to the fact that we budgeted to spend $24.9B under the head called Venezuela and we only paid $9.5B that was explained in parliament. The money was put under statutory public sector debt whenever the farmers ship rice and paddy to Venezuela and because the Petrocaribe fund was empty the government was going to pay the farmers by virtue of writing down the debt owed to Venezuela. We put that money there with the hope that the agreement would continue at least to November when it was to be ended and with options if it were to be renewed. Without consulting with us Venezuela abrogated the agreement (so it was not necessary to pay that total amount). That is why the big difference is left there,” the Finance Minister said.

According to Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary, Joseph Harmon at Cabinet’s post briefing held today, at the Ministry of the Presidency Guyana’s Public debt at December 31, 2015, stood at $357.7 B of which public international debt represented $ 276 B and domestic public debt stood at$81.7 B.

Minister Harmon said a report on public debt was laid before and discussed by Cabinet at its last sitting. The report will soon be laid over for debate in the National Assembly.

At a press conference hosted at his Main and Urquhart Streets office recently Minister of Finance had indicated that the preparation of the report was historic.

“A first in Guyana, it is the first time ever a medium term debt report has been prepared and presented. It looks at the last five years, 2015 back and I hope when it becomes well circulated it will put pain to a lot of irrational comments about the public debt which is being bandied about,” Jordan had said.

Public debt is debt owed by a country whether locally or internationally.

 

 

By Kidackie Amsterdam

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