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Guyana reports 3.9% growth in first half of 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013 | 9:18 AM    

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – The Guyana economy grew by 3.9 per cent during the first six months of this year, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh has said.

“This performance is a most commendable achievement considering the adverse prevailing external environment particularly considering the fact that most of the Caribbean countries continue to be buffeted by the extremely difficult external challenges that the region faces,” he told a news conference in Georgetown Friday night.

Figures released show that the non-sugar based sectors had increased by six per cent and overall growth for the year is now projected at 4.8 per cent, while non-sugar growth is projected at 5.8 per cent.

“Gold declarations increased by 26.8 per cent to 234,498 ounces and export earnings amounted to US$300.8 million, an increase of 12.2 per cent over the corresponding period in 2012. Rice production expanded by 25.1 per cent to 263,228 tonnes and export earnings amounted to US$83.3 million. The construction sector expanded by 6.6 per cent reflecting strong public sector activity combined with private housing construction and private sector construction activities. The financial and insurance service sector grew by 9.1 per cent,” Singh added.

He said the sugar sector, which contracted by 32.5 per cent, is still viewed as critical to the overall health of the country.

“We are really committed to supporting the industry and ensuring that we find solutions to the challenges that are faced and we overcome those challenges.”

But Singh said that the lack of performance by the sugar sector whilst imposing some negative influence on the overall economic performance is not as detrimental as it was in decades past due to the increasingly diversified economy.

He said inflation was contained to 0.2 per cent in the first half of 2013, a clear reflection of government’s policy stance that lends itself to containment of inflation.

“We are happy to report that over the years that this policy stance has led to the containment of inflation to single digits,” Singh said, adding that private sector credit expanded by 4.8 per cent to G$169.4 billion (One Guyana dollar = US$0.005 cents), with significant growth of 15.1 per cent in the manufacturing sector, 15 per cent in construction and engineering sector, 7.5 per cent in mining and 7.4 per cent in real estate mortgages.

“We should derive some satisfaction as country at the fact that the economy continues to grow as a result of collective effort, the policy framework established by government, the response by the private sector.

“It is also a reflection of the accumulation of savings, the consumption of goods and services by households and citizens of Guyana…it really is the aggregation of the economic activity of every citizen of Guyana.”

Singh said that it is incumbent on every stakeholder to ensure that they take every decision that is placed before them in a manner that is consistent with the preservation of the environment that is so critical for sustaining economic growth, particularly into the medium and long term.

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