On the heels of a Guyana Times report, Government has admitted that Guyana’s macro-economic outlook for 2017 was even worse than projected; with a 2.1 per cent growth rate being recorded.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, made this admission during his first press conference for the year on Friday. Revealing that the 2017 end of year economic report has been completed, he noted that the dismal figures are due to several sectors including sugar.
According to Jordan “the economy did not perform as robust as we expected during last year. Even at the half year we were predicting that the economy would not, given what we knew about sugar. At the end of the day, it was even worse than we predicted. So even though there was positive growth last year, the growth rate ended up being 2.1 per cent.”
He continued “Sugar, we had budgeted at 208,000 tonnes, came in at only 137,307 tonnes. Rice did quite well. We had budgeted 600,000 tonnes. Rice came in at 630,104 tonnes. Bauxite again did not do quite well. We had budgeted 1.7 Million tonnes. Bauxite came in at 1.4 Million. Gold (was a) major disappointment. We budgeted at 694,000 ounces. It came in at 653,674 ounces.”
Initially, Government had projected that Guyana’s economy would have grown by a 3.8 per cent for 2017. This projection was reduced to 3.1 per cent and then again to 2.9 per cent.
According to the Finance Ministry’s Mid-Year Report for 2017, economic growth in the first half of 2017 rose to some 2.2 per cent, compared to 2.0 per cent in the first half of 2016.
Guyana’s last best growth rate was 5.2 per cent in 2013. But since then, it never surpassed that figure. World Bank records show growth rates in 2014 was 3.8 per cent, 2015 at 3.2 per cent, and 2016 at 3.3 per cent.
Opposition Leader and former President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has repeatedly criticised Government for what he described as their lack of vision to present a substantial economic policy.
Jagdeo, an economist, had also warned Government against borrowing large loans which could put Guyana in greater debt.