As the new government buckles down to get a clear picture of the financial health of the economy so as to prepare the 2020 budget, there are early indications that the success of the oil industry has masked declining growth in traditional sectors such as bauxite and fisheries. Disclosing this state of affairs recently was Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo who is tasked with assisting President Irfaan Ali in overseeing the petroleum and financial sectors.
Dr. Jagdeo said that as of mid-year, the non-oil economy shrunk by 4.9% while oil and gas grew by almost 50 percent.
The official said, “I am told for example, whole sale and retail trade shrunk by midyear by 14%, transport by 25%, accommodation by 33%, bauxite by 42%, other mining by 57%. a lot of the sectors, forestry, fisheries etc, went into decline, significant decline.”
He added, “So that shows the impact, if you take out oil and gas, our economic activities shrunk by 4.9, nearly 5% at the first half of the year…And these are the sectors of our economy that have the greatest linkages to other sectors and there are labour intensive sectors of our economy.”
The Vice President said it would be required of the government to come up with a number of budgetary measures to stimulate growth. In this regard, he said that there are plans to generate more capital and provide direct help to the private sector in an effort to reverse the declining growth in the non-oil economy.