Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, who is an economist by profession, has dubbed the 2.1 percent economic growth recorded for 2017 as anaemic.
During a press briefing held on Thursday, he told media operatives present that the dismal growth rate gives a clear picture of how incompetent the current Government is at managing the financial and economic affairs of the country.
Jagdeo said the economic growth figure is low by all standards, and is no way lending to the growth and development that is required in the country. He also reminded that the Government had to revise the growth projection three times, and it calls into question its presentations to Parliament regarding the economy.
“So now that it is low, all of the ratios they spoke to us about in the last budget in November would have to be recalibrated. And so the size of our fiscal deficit would climb, our balance of payment in relation to GDP will climb, et cetera,” he explained while noting that it is not as simple as revising a number downwards, especially when that number is used as the denominator to calculate a range of macroeconomic issues and variables.
“Rather than the Minister of Finance (Winston Jordan) seriously addressing the issues to say what policy-wise can I do to stimulate the economy, he then makes excuses.”
There is no positive indication that Guyana has so far managed to manoeuvre its way out of the economic slow lane in which it has been stuck for the past three years due to the minimal GDP growth.
Finance Minister Winston Jordan made this admission during a press conference last week. Revealing that the 2017 end-of-year economic report has been completed, he linked the dismal figures to 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.”
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.