3.9% growth recorded for first half of 2013 – reflection of gov’t’s policies and a dynamic private sector -Finance Minister

The trend of seven years of consecutive growth for the local economy appears to be set to continue with the announcement of a 3.9 % growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh last evening.

“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,” the Finance Minister stated during a press conference at the National Communications Network.
The non-sugar based sectors had an expansion of 6% overall growth for the year is now projected at 4.8 %, while non-sugar growth is projected at 5.8%.
“Gold declarations increased by 26.8% to 234,498 ounces and export earnings amounted to US$300.8 million, an increase of 12.2% over the corresponding period in 2012. Rice production expanded by 25.1% to 263,228 tonnes and export earnings amounted to US$83.3 million. The construction sector expanded by 6.6%, 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 percent”.
The sugar sector, which contracted by 32.5%, is still viewed as critical to the overall health of the country, according to the Finance Minister. “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.”
The lack of performance by the sugar sector, whilst imposing some negative influence on the overall economic performance,the minister said, it is not as detrimental as it was in decades past due to the increasingly diversified economy.
Inflation was contained to 0.2 percent 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 this policy stance has led to the containment of inflation to single digits”.
Minister Singh also highlighted the fact that Private Sector Credit expanded by 4.8% to $169.4 billion, with significant growth of 15.1% in the manufacturing sector, 15% in construction and engineering sector, 7.5% in mining and 7.4% in real estate mortgages.
“We should derive some satisfaction as a 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.
He added that it behoves every stakeholder in Guyana 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 the sustaining of economic growth, particularly into the medium and long term.

Sector Highlights
Education

Of the $28.7 billion budgeted for 2013, $11.1 billion was spent at the end of June- $308.8 million on infrastructure investments, the national school feeding programme benefitted over 65,000 school children, over 155,000 school uniform vouchers were distributed to the coastal and Upper Mazaruni area, while over 29,221 hinterland students will benefit from the distribution of school uniforms. Thirty additional computer labs have been completed to date.

Health
The sum of $5.4 billion was expended during the first half of the year with $78.3 million spent on health infrastructure. Seventy Cuban trained doctors will be deployed throughout the system by the end of the third quarter, while another 208 will be deployed by the end of the year.  A total of 20,988 bed nets were purchased and distributed in Regions 1, 7, 8 and 9 in an effort to address critical communicable diseases.

Housing
In the housing sector, $ 1.1 billion was expended in the first half of the year. Approximately $649.6 million was expended under the 2013 Housing Programme for the development of 2,254 new house lots, while 636 house lots were distributed and 1,540 titles were processed.
Sixty-seven core houses were completed, while another 59 are in progress. Fifty-two Home Improvement Subsidies were distribution to eligible families, in areas such as Lusignan, Block D Bath, Eliza and Mary and Ankerville, benefitting more than 234 persons, while in the Hinterland Housing Pilot, 34 subsidies were disbursed. Another 36 homes have been selected for complete replacement, benefitting approximately 490 persons directly.

Water
In the water sector, $455.5 million was spent in the first half of the year. Upgrades in service connections in areas such as Kara Kara, Noitgedacht, Nottinghamshire, Amelia’s Ward, One Mile, Half Mile, Christianburg, Canvas City, West Watooka and Richmond Hill commenced, while construction of wells, service connections upgrades, trestles and upgrading of water treatment plants in areas such as Better Hope-Mon Repos Region 4, and Port Mourant, Region 6 will be completed by the end of the year. Upgrades to Hinterland communities, in areas such as Matthews Ridge, Paruima, Akawini, Bamboo Creek, Rupertee and Port Kaituma will be done later in the year.

Sanitation
The sum of $238.6 million was expended during the first half of 2013 to treat filarial and other tropical diseases with 730,000 tablets distributed.
Another $161.2 million was expended to facilitate the procurement of two collection trucks, 825 bins and continue infrastructural works on the Haags Bosch Sanitary Landfill.

Agriculture
A total of $443.1 million was expended in the agriculture sector. Construction of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is in progress while works at Canals Polder commenced. A draft Marine Management Plan was completed and production for export commenced at the newly established tilapia farms.

Drainage and Irrigation
In the first half of 2013, $1.7 billion has been expended. Construction and rehabilitation works commenced on pumps and pump stations in Regions 3, 4, 5 and 6, and works are ongoing at the Northern Relief Channel and associated drainage structures, and outfall channels throughout the regions.

Infrastructure
The sum of $2.8 billion was expended during the first half of the year, with $2.5 billion being spent on roads and $306.2 million on bridges. $746.2 million was disbursed towards the completion of the four lane access road to CJIA, the continuation of the East Bank Demerara four lane highway and for the completion of designs and studies for the Sheriff Street to Mandela Avenue roadway, the West Coast Demerara Road from Vreed-en-Hoop to Hydronie, the highway from Better Hope to Golden Grove, the 14 kilometres of farm to market roads at Parika and Ruby, the four lane highway from Diamond to Timehri, the East Bank Berbice Road and Canals Polder Nos. 1 and 2 roads.
The sum of $1.6 billion was expended for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, upgrade and maintenance of rural, community and hinterland roads in all the regions including the Mabura Hill to Amaila Falls road, while $282.9 million was disbursed for the continued reconstruction and rehabilitation of 20 critical structures from Belladrum to Rosignol.
The sum of $11.9 million was spent for the maintenance of our 43 airstrips in Regions 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9, and $62.7 million for the procurement of spares for ships and vessels.
Preliminary designs for the upgrade, expansion and modernisation of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport were completed, and infrastructural works are scheduled to commence in the second half of the year. $306.9 million was disbursed for the strengthening of sea and river defences in critical areas in Regions 2 to 7, while 50,000 mangrove seedlings were replanted and mangroves were restored in Wellington Park, No 6-8 Villages Corentyne, Victoria and Le Ressouvenir/Felicity.

Electricity
In the first six months of 2013, a total of $1.7 billion was expended. Works advanced on the installation of the new Wartsila engines at Vreed-en-Hoop, construction of five substations and upgrading of one substation, installation of transmission lines from Sophia to Onverwagt and the frequency conversion programme.

ICT
At mid-year, $479.9 million was spent towards the commencement of works on 25 LTE-A sites in areas including Lusignan, Enmore, Cane Grove, Vigilance, Melanie, Wales, Helena, Aurora, Suddie, and New Amsterdam, while 5,500 laptops were distributed in Region 4 during the first half of, bringing the total laptops distributed to 32,332.
A total of 20,492 applicants in Regions 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 10 have been approved for distribution, which is scheduled to commence in the third quarter and is expected to be completed in the final quarter.(GINA)

Source: http://www.guyanachronicleonline.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=63405%3A39-growth-recorded-for-first-half-of-2013-reflection-of-govts-policies-and-a-dynamic-private-sector-finance-minister&catid=4%3Atop-story&Itemid=8

Full report can be found on the following link: http://gcci.gy/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Mid-Year-2013.pdf