Statement by an IMF Mission to Guyana

Press Release No. 10/448
November 19, 2010

Therese Turner-Jones, chief of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission to Guyana, released the following statement today in Georgetown:

“An IMF mission visited Guyana from Nov 8–18 to conduct the Fund’s yearly review of the Guyanese economy. Despite external and domestic shocks in 2010, Guyana’s economy has exhibited resilience, registering a fifth consecutive year of robust growth. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to grow by just under 4 percent this year, above the outturn in 2009, supported by increased activity in the sugar, gold, and services sectors. Notwithstanding downside risks, including the global environment and concerns in the sugar sector, the team expects growth to continue on a steady path, supported by expansion in the mining and construction sectors. Despite a small increase reflecting movement in food prices inflation remains relatively low.

“Discussions centered on strategies to maintain fiscal and debt sustainability over the medium term in the context of the Low Carbon Development Strategy, further enhance economic flexibility and resilience to shocks, while continuing to reduce poverty. Fiscal consolidation remains a priority, consistent with the authorities’ commitment of maintaining a sustainable medium term debt path. Staff recommended strengthening ongoing efforts to improve the fiscal outturn, given existing challenges in the sugar sector.Maintaining the strong fiscal stance would also help to support external sector stability. Staff welcomed the continued improvements in public financial management and tax administration, especially with respect to compliance and risk management. It welcomed the increase in the gross foreign reserves position, to about five months of imports at present.

“While the banking system remains liquid and well capitalized, continued vigilance is warranted, particularly against the backdrop of the ongoing housing boom. Recent enhancements in financial sector supervision and regulation, including new guidelines on risk management, are welcome. Staff commended the dissemination of financial sector indicators, which now appear on the Bank of Guyana’s website.

“The IMF Executive Board is expected to discuss Guyana’s Article IV consultation in January 2011. The mission is especially grateful for the open communication and close collaboration enjoyed over the past two weeks not only with government officials but with all Guyanese stakeholders, with whom it had the privilege of exchanging views.”



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