Finance Minister Winston Jordan is projecting a 3.5 percent growth for Guyana’s economy in 2015 even as he disclosed that the country recorded zero percent growth in the first half of the year.
During his budget presentation on Monday, Jordan said first sign of a slowdown in Guyana’s economy was witnessed in 2014 when the country failed to the meet its estimated half-year growth of 3.2 percent.
The Finance Minister said the economy contracted to 3.8 percent in 2014 and believes the then rapidly deteriorating political climate was a significant contributory factor.
Jordan’s comments come in wake of criticism being leveled against the APNU+AFC government where it is being blamed for the economic slowdown is being placed at the feet of the new coalition government.
Jordan said the previous administration had projected a 3.4 percent growth for the first half of 2015 but regrettably announced that there was a minuscule 0.9 percent growth recorded.
He believes this is conclusive evidence that the economy slowed down long before the APNU+AFC’s assumption to office in May.
The Finance Minister said there are encouraging signs that Guyana’s economy could record over three percent growth at the end of 2015.
The growth targets for the public administration, education and health sectors have been held at their initial targets of 0 percent, 3.1 percent and 3 percent respectively for 2015. Sugar production for the entire year 2015 has been reduced from 245,079 tonnes, envisaged by the previous administration, to 219,913 tonnes, a marginal increase of 1.7 percent over 2014.
With respect to rice, a revised production target of 703,462 tonnes of rice in 2015 has been set which is an increase of 10.7 percent.
A downward revision of the manufacturing sector’s 2015 growth target has been made, from 2.9 percent to 0.5 percent. Jordan says Guyanese can look forward to the good life, since the economy will be put firmly on a self sustaining path of higher, more diversified growth that can be sustained well beyond 2020, the end of the first term of this Government.