Govt records $14.2B surplus in State coffers

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The Guyana Government has recorded a more-than-$14 billion surplus in its coffers – an increase from last year’s first quarter – which has been fuelled by increased revenue collection as against budgetary spending.

This is according to the Bank of Guyana (BoG) first-quarter report, which states that the overall financial position of the Public Sector as of March 2021 month-end was a surplus of $14.251 billion. This sum is applicable for both Central Government and Non-Financial Public Enterprises (NFPEs).

The report also provides a further breakdown. The Central Government’s overall balance was a surplus of $10.6 billion at end-March 2021, compared to a surplus of $6.5 billion one year earlier. According to the report, this can be attributed to increased revenue collection, which was sufficient to offset budgetary spending during the review period.

“The current account recorded a surplus of $14.8 billion owing to increased revenue collections from taxation as business activities picked up following the gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. Total current revenue rose by 9.7 per cent to $61.559 billion.

“This performance reflected increased collection of income taxes by 9.8 per cent to $25.9 billion, VAT & excise taxes by 7.3 per cent to $25.3 billion, trade taxes by 5.8 per cent to $5.5 billion and other tax revenues by 32.3 per cent to $2.4 billion,” the report states.

According to the report, non-tax revenue meanwhile expanded by 29.5 per cent to $2.3 billion. When it comes to total current expenditure, a sum of $46.7 billion was spent during the first quarter. This reflects budgetary spending.

“Transfer payments amounted to $21 billion while employment costs, spending on other goods & services and interest charges were $16.4 billion, $7.1 billion and $2 billion, respectively. The capital account deficit stood at $4.1 billion, with capital revenue amounting to $318 million while capital expenditure amounted to $4.5 billion.

“Capital revenue comprised proceeds received for projects amounting to $248 million and debt relief of $70 million under the Enhanced HIPC (E-HIPC – Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) initiative. Capital expenditure was in line with budgetary spending on developmental projects. Disbursements for the construction sector amounted to $2.9 billion and represented 65.5 per cent of total capital expenditure for the period under review.”

Meanwhile, the report also laid out the percentage of total capital expenditure, in various sectors: these include agriculture (7.8 per cent); social welfare (6.0 per cent); power generation (4.4 per cent); health (3.5 per cent); public safety (3.2 per cent); administration (2.1 per cent); environment & pure water (2.0 per cent); housing (1.8 per cent); transport & communication (1.7 per cent); education (0.7 per cent); financial transfers (0.5 per cent); culture/youth (0.4 per cent); manufacturing (0.4 per cent) and national security & defence (0.1 per cent).

“There was no capital spending on fishing and tourist development. Central Government financing position amounted to net domestic savings of G$22,576 million and net external borrowings of G$11,965 million,” the report says.

Over the course of the period under review, several of these sectors flourished. It was noted in the report that the agriculture sector recorded increased production of rice, fish and shrimp, sugar, eggs and poultry meat while the forestry subsector contracted. In the mining and quarrying sector, production of sand, bauxite, stone and gold was lower while crude oil and diamond production increased.

The manufacturing sector also recorded mixed performances with liquid pharmaceuticals, nitrogen gas, oxygen, paints and alcoholic beverages performing favourably while there was a decline in production of acetylene, ointments, tablets, and detergents.

The construction sector recorded positive performance on account of increased public and private construction while there were increased activities in the services sector as the authorities commenced lifting COVID-19 restrictive measures. [Guyana Times]