Guyana’s public debt has been reduced by 3.6 percent over the period 2014 to 2015. This was announced by Finance Minister Winston Jordan during his 2016 Budget presentation to the National Assembly on January 29.
The Minister indicated that this was as a result of prudent management of the economy. “This has resulted in the total public debt to GDP ratio reducing from 51.9 percent in 2014, to 48.6 percent in 2015. By the end of 2015, the total stock of public debt stood at US$1.5 billion,” he said.
The Finance Minister explained that a key component of public debt is the stock of external debt, which was reduced by six percent, to US$1.1 billion at the end of 2015.
According to Jordan, this was due largely to repayments of the oil debt under the Guyana-Venezuela Rice Trade Arrangement. He pointed out that in 2015; Guyana concluded negotiations for two Debt Compensation Agreements with Venezuela. These saw the reduction of the oil debt by a further US$88.7 million.
“In September 2015, one debt compensation agreement was signed for the amount of US$44.9 million. The total external debt service payments also fell by 41 percent to US$98.4 million in 2015,” Jordan said.
Minister Jordan also informed the National Assembly that conversely, there was an increase of 4.2 percent in the domestic debt stock, from US$379.8 million in 2014, to US$395.6 million. This increase was primarily due he said, to higher issuance of treasury bills. “The actual domestic debt service payment totalled US$8.5 million, an increase by 10.9 percent compared,” Jordan informed the House. (GINA)