The Ministry of Finance has released its End of Year Outcome Report for 2019, in which it talked up the achievements of the economy in spite of economic indicators and experts contending otherwise.
The Report, released on Thursday, stated that the economy performed “creditably and remained stable”, with key macroeconomic variables continuing to be “favourable” and pointing to “sustained growth and investments for a successive year”.
According to the Report, real GDP growth was an “impressive” 5.4%, with 4.3% recorded for the non-oil economy.
The Ministry reported that balance of payments deficit fell to US$49 million, and foreign reserves climbed to US$575.6 million; with private sector credit rising by 8.6%; and inflation remained moderate, at 2.1%.
It added that the stock of public debt fell to US$1,689.1 million, 32.7% of nominal GDP.
“Progress continued across several sectors, in 2019, and there was focused effort in prioritising institutional strengthening and more evidence-based policymaking,” the Report stated.
The last budget approved by Guyana’s National Assembly was one for the fiscal year ending 2019 which means that all expenditure for the first half of 2020 has been curtailed to a monthly one-twelfth of the previous year’s expenditure.
Not only has the country’s general reserves been depleted to zero dollars, but the account is also now running an overdraft to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.
This is in addition to an alarmingly depleted gold reserve. The state of affairs can be gleaned from the published balance statements of the nation’s accounts held by the Bank of Guyana.
The Bank of Guyana, as part of its statutory requirements, published in the Official Gazette, a Statement of Assets and Liabilities for the country.
Just recently, PPP/C Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali, who is an economist by training, painted a gloomy picture of the current state of the economy which he said is largely due to the lack of foresight by the incumbent APNU/AFC Coalition.
Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry noted that the prospects and promises of the newest oil producing country have been slowed by several emerging issues. It said that the dissolution of Parliament, in December 2019, to pave the way for General and Regional Elections, in the first quarter of 2020, resulted in the postponement of the 2020 national budget to a post-election timeline.
It added that global developments in late 2019 – that is the COVID-19 pandemic – and the oil market shocks in early 2020, have had devastating effects across the world and, though not on the same scale, in Guyana.