Guyana’s economic growth demonstrates ‘excellent performance’ – PSC Chairman

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As was projected and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the recent countrywide floods, Guyana’s economy recorded unprecedented economic growth in the first half of 2021.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry of Finance said Guyana recorded a real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 14.5 per cent, while non-oil GDP grew by 4.8 per cent.

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) is happy with this data and is also satisfied with the projections of a full-year forecast for real GDP growth at 19.5 per cent and 3.7 per cent for the non-oil economy.

Speaking with the News Room on Wednesday, PSC Chairman Paul Cheong reasoned that by any measure, the data released is evidence of the excellent performance of the economy.

Although the oil and gas sector had a huge impact by driving that growth up by some 10 per cent, Cheong was particularly concerned with the growth of the non-oil economy. He said the construction and manufacturing sectors were major contributors to those numbers.

PSC Chairman Paul Cheong (Photo: News Room/October 6, 2021)

According to the mid-year report, the manufacturing sector saw an estimated growth of 13.1 per cent when compared to the same period last year with expansion of the sector being attributed to a growth of 23.1 per cent.

The report also noted the strong performance of the construction sector which grew by 25.5 per cent in the first half of 2021.

“These are areas we need to focus on because they are sustainable.

“Oil will see a spike but it is not sustainable and because it is a depleting resource.  We have to continue to use the resource garnered from oil and gas to strengthen the other parts of the economy,” Cheong explained.

He said with Guyana’s economy projected to grow rapidly in the coming years because of oil, the government must now shift its focus to building a strong, robust and sustainable economy that can withstand any shocks in the future.

But even with the significant growth support by petroleum activities, Cheong said efforts must also be placed on local content. Some local businesses have complained of being bypassed while preference is given to foreign companies to operate in the oil and gas sector.

A meeting between the PSC and the Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat is set for Wednesday afternoon where the issue will be discussed further.

“We will continue to push to have it [local content legislation] enacted as soon as possible,” Cheong added

On February 15, the government of Guyana opened a public consultation process for its local content policy. That process is still ongoing.

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