Finance Minister Winston Jordan has clarified that Guyana’s external debt has risen to and currently stands at US$1.2 billion.
The Minister had previously reported to the National Assembly, during his maiden address, that the external debt had risen to US$1.6 billion but he has now retracted that figure.
He told the House on Thursday that the US$1.6 billion figure was in fact the public debt, comprising both the external and domestic debt.
“I apologize to this Honorable House for the earlier mistake and for the erroneous impression created,” he said.
Jordan had come under attack from former Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh soon after releasing the figures in June.
Guyana’s domestic debt has also risen and currently stands at US$0.4 billion, Jordan had also announced.
At the Finance Minister’s last address to the House, he had also said that the treasury is in a $60B deficit. Jordan had cautioned against the threat posed by the increasing foreign debt and committed to its reduction as Finance Minister.
He had testified then of the several generous debt write-offs that Guyana had benefited from thorugh bilateral and multilateral agencies but argued that some cancellations had resulted in implications for the country’s debt-management.
Jordan reasoned that close attention would now be paid to new borrowing to ensure that the reasons for borrowing and the sums could be justified.
The AFC, while in opposition had refused to support a motion in the 10th Parliament to raise the external loan ceiling for Guyana.
The external debt ceiling is the limit set out by the National Assembly as to how much money Guyana could borrow from external sources. The then People’s Progressive Party Civic government was looking to increase the external debt ceiling to US$1.1 Billion.