Economy grew by 43.5% in 2020; Budget 2021 aims to advance recovery

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The local economy, hampered by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the protracted general and regional elections, grew by 43.5 per cent in 2020, according to Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh.

On Friday, while presenting the 2021 National Budget, Dr Singh said that the growth in the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was driven by the burgeoning oil and gas sector, but this amount was still lower than previously projected.

The year 2020 was the first full year of Guyana’s oil production and it is for this reason that such a massive growth was recorded, despite the overarching ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Importantly, however, Dr Singh highlighted that the non-oil sector of the economy contracted by 7.3 per cent. The fishing, mining, forestry, manufacturing, services and construction sectors were all impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions, resulting in reduced productivity.

There were small increases recorded in the water supply and sewage sector as well as in the electricity sector.

“Our government was forced to keep in place several emergency measures for much longer than anticipated, hampering the expected pace of recovery,” Dr Singh said, adding: “The shocks to our economy from the effects of 2020- the pandemic and elections- were far more severe and far more lasting than we estimated.”

Amid these unavoidable contractions in 2020, the year’s National Budget has been crafted under the theme: “A path to recovery: Economic dynamism and resilience.”

The budget is underpinned by six main pillars: navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring a diverse and productive economic sector, promoting entrepreneurship, establishing world-class social services, improving public services and ensuring respect for the constitution and respect for the rule of law.

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