In wake of criticisms that there has been grave economic deterioration under the APNU+AFC administration, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan recently turned to the letter pages of the daily newspapers in an attempt to separate fact from fiction.
The Minister was keen to note that deterioration is a process by which something becomes progressively worse. Given this simple definition, Jordan said that of the productive industries, only the sugar industry, which contracted in the past 4 years due to the closure the 4 sugar estates, and forestry can be so classified.
The economist said that all other productive industries expanded, on average, in the past five years. Expounding further, he said that there was notable growth in other crops, gold and other mining and quarrying, petroleum and gas, and support services. He said too that there was growth in rice manufacturing; electricity supply; accommodation and food services; financial and insurance activities; professional, scientific and technical services; and human health and social work. These expanded, on average, in the past 5 years, by 5.5 percent, 12.7 percent, 14.9 percent, 119.4 percent, 6 percent, 4.2 percent, 4.5 percent, 4 percent, 4.1 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively.
Further to this, Jordan pointed out that the respective real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) level for each industry, from 2014 to 2019, increased, except for the sugar, forestry, and rice industries (which contracted by a mere 0.1 percent) and sugar manufacturing. Noteworthy he said, are the industries which recorded significant growth over the 2014 to 2019 period. He said that these include other crops; livestock; gold; other mining and quarrying; petroleum and gas, and support services; rice manufacturing, electricity supply; water supply and sewerage; transport and storage; accommodation and food services; financial and insurance activities; professional, scientific and technical services; administrative and support services; public administration; and human health and social work.
Guyana Standard understands that these increased by 28.6 percent, 15.4 percent, 63.8 percent; 72.7 percent, 3,679 percent; 19.8 percent; 22.8 percent; 17.4 percent; 17.9 percent; 24.5 percent; 21.6 percent; 22.4 percent; 18.9 percent; 17.7 percent; and 26.8 percent, respectively.
With the foregoing in mind, Jordan said, “One could hardly call this deterioration.” The economist said that these trends continued into the first quarter of 2020, but the presence of COVID-19 in Guyana and the ensuing measures to contain its spread, has slowed economic activity.