Guyana’s economic growth in face of serious challenges laudable- President Ramotar
Georgetown, GINA, January 24, 2014
President Donald Ramotar is of the view that Guyana’s economy has again performed well despite the political challenges. The year 2013 has seen a five percent real growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He recognised however, that the country could have done much better had it not been for the challenges that the Government has and continues to face. The total investment of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project alone would have contributed to about 25 percent of GDP.
That project has been put on hold after the pull out of Sithe Global, the project’s developer as a result of political bickering and the Opposition’s non-support of it in Parliament.
The state of affairs with regards to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) (Amendment) Bill, which is now languishing before a parliamentary special select committee for a second time, is another major challenge that could and in fact, has already started to have adverse effects on the country’s financial system.
President Ramotar made reference to a recent statement by the Chairman of Citizen’s Bank, Clifford Reis, who, at the Bank’s Annual General Meeting, lamented the far-reaching dire consequences that the banking sector is facing as a result of the country being blacklisted by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
Despite all this however, the President commended the strong management of the economy, which was able to withstand much of the challenges to realise economic growth.
“Our economy continues to attract important investments, our mining sector has grown, tourism is poised to make an even greater contribution this year than it did last year,” he posited.
The expansion of air travel will see increased arrival, which in itself bring more robust growth to the sector. The Panamanian Airline, COPA is one of the latest that will commence plying the Georgetown route in July.
The agriculture sector, with the exception of sugar, has also performed well, with the rice industry recording its highest ever production of more than 535,000 tonnes, a 27 percent increase from the previous year.
Going forward, the country is poised to see more economic growth this year. In fact, the United Nations’ annual World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report 2014, projects that Guyana and Haiti will take the lead in economic growth for Latin America and the Caribbean. Both countries are projected to grow by 4.5 percent this year.