‘We don’t borrow to eat; we borrow to build’ – Jagdeo says Guyana’s debt among lowest globally
Guyana’s national debt is currently 12 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, one of the lowest figures in the world, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo clarified on Thursday.
Speaking at a press conference from the governing People’s Progressive Party Civic’s (PPP/C) headquarters in Georgetown, the Vice President clarified that roughly 10 per cent of revenues are being used to service that debt.
When questioned, he rejected claims that the government’s borrowing was excessive and recalled the indebtedness of Guyana when the PPP/C won the 1992 elections.
“That is one of our greatest successes that we never speak about.
“We took a bankrupt country and restored it to financial viability and that was before oil and gas,” the Vice President contended.
Guyana’s debt in 2023 is roughly US$4 billion and according to Jagdeo, with one year’s future revenue, the total outstanding debt can be paid off.
“There are very few countries with this debt profile. In addition, we have not contracted any private variable interest loans. We have two and they are from the multilateral financial institutions. All others are fixed,” Jagdeo added.
He believes Guyana should be applauded particularly since countries like the United States of America and others in Europe have debts that are 100 per cent of their GDP.
“When we borrow, we borrow to invest in things that…we can pay it back.
“We don’t borrow to eat, we borrow to build the capital stock of the country,” Jagdeo argued.
He said Guyana has the capacity to repay its current outstanding debt and reiterated that monies are only borrowed for key national projects and prudently to avoid the mistakes of the past.
In the 2023 budget, Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh announced that the country’s total public debt stood at US$3.9 billion – an increase by 16.9 percent from last year.
The government has secured several other key loans since then, including a US$150M Saudi loan for housing development, and infrastructural projects; a US$350M Qatar loan for the extension of the Parika highway and a US$192 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of China to finance the East Coast Demerara Road Project Phase 2, among others from the IDB and the Bank of China.