AS the economy continues to show higher levels of growth and development, Guyanese can expect to benefit from a much higher standard of living. Already there are some positive indications that people are better off, not only in terms of more money in their pockets but also in terms of the quality of service they obtain from government services.
According to Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, the economy grew in 2021 by 18.5 per cent which is an extraordinary development given current trends where the impact of the pandemic and climate change had resulted in the slowing down or contraction of the growth rates of most economies in the region and in the world as a whole.
According to a recent report from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Latin America and the Caribbean Region will experience a contraction of growth levels in 2022 by 2.1 per cent compared to the previous year. The economic slowdown, according to ECLAC, takes place against the background of significant asymmetries between developed, emerging and developing countries with regard to the capacity to implement fiscal, social, monetary and health and vaccination policies for sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report highlights the fact that the region is experiencing a difficult situation which is manifested in growing uncertainty in the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing evolution, a sharp deceleration in growth, continued low investment and productivity, slow employment recovery, reduced fiscal space, inflationary pressures and financial imbalances.
Guyana, unlike most of the other countries in the region, is projected to do well due in large measure to the emerging oil and gas sector. The country is expected to record an astounding 49.7 per cent growth by the end of this year which would catapult the country as the highest in the world in terms of economic growth.
The oil and gas sector has indeed been a significant player in the changing economic fortunes of the country but it is by no means the only contributor. A lot of that progress is the result of prudent economic and fiscal management which has resulted from a good and friendly investment climate and good governance. According to Minister Singh, the good economic forecasts are the result of sound policies in terms of economic growth, job creation and income generation for the benefit of all Guyanese. These positive projections are indicative of the continuing confidence and optimism in the Guyanese economy not only locally but also at the international level.
These developments are all the more significant given the continuing negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy and the recent flood disaster the country experienced last year. Economic development, as the minister pointed out, is all about confidence which was badly shattered during the tenure of the previous APNU+AFC administration when the then government adopted an extremely hostile posture towards the private sector and private investment. The fact that for a significant period of time the country was under unconstitutional rule further eroded confidence levels in the then government and resulted in a slowing down in investment capital to the country and the pace of economic growth.
Guyana today has one of the most welcoming and attractive investment climate in the region for which the PPP/C administration must be commended. The several major investments in the multiple sectors are already creating new opportunities for Guyanese. And according to President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, these investments have created a string of new opportunities for different layers in society, especially in the areas of job creation and expansion of social services. In the area of public works alone, a total of 39 billion dollars was injected in the economy last year creating hundreds of ancillary jobs such as drivers, operators, mechanics, labourers and a host of other employment opportunities.
The economic wind that is blowing across the country is doing everyone good and as the pace of development picks up momentum, the economic and social benefits to the nation and its people will only get better.