–record 52.5 per cent increase
AFTRER being suffocated by the COVID-19 pandemic and other externalities in 2020, Guyana’s accommodation and food services industry and the arts recovered significantly in 2021, recording a collective increase of 52.2 per cent, according to the Bank of Guyana.
Those industries, which form part of the services sector, received a breath of fresh air when local authorities had adjusted the COVID-19 protocols to allow for the resuscitation of various economic sectors.
“The accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment and recreation, wholesale and retail trade, as well as repairs activities recording the most favourable growth,” the Bank of Guyana said in its 2021 report, which was published recently.
Entertainment and recreation recorded growth of 34.4 per cent, while wholesale and retail trade and repairs increased by 32.9 per cent.
This year, with the hosting of Cricket Carnival in September, an event that will bring some of the biggest names in the regional and international entertainment industries to Guyana, the country is crystalising its place as the entertainment capital of the region.
With this and other events, Guyana will be adding to the contributions of the services sector, which is undoubtedly significant.
Economist Sydney Armstrong had emphasised the importance of the service sector in 2020, when he said that it would be critical to the recovery of Guyana’s economy. The services sector in Guyana accounts for more than half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but it had taken a severe hit.
“The service sector has been hit the hardest…but, as we recover, it must be the sector of focus…we have to organise and plan how to re-open the economy with this [service sector] in mind…there is the tourism industry and there are other industries within the service sector, such as banking and transportation which need to be priority,” Armstrong had said.
The government, cognisant of this, made strategic decisions that resulted in the services sector recording an overall increase of 11.9 per cent in 2021.
And based on Budget 2022, the government intends to maintain and even enhance its approach to stimulating growth in this and other economic sectors.
This year, all of the service industries are projected to expand by 3.8 per cent. Notably, significant increases are forecasted for wholesale and retail trade and repairs (6.5 per cent), transport and storage (7.8 per cent), financial and insurance activities (3.9 per cent), administrative and support services (2.5 per cent), and real estate activities (2.3 per cent).
Overall, the Guyanese economy is projected to record real oil GDP growth of 47.5 per cent on account of higher output of oil.
In the non-oil economy, according to the Bank of Guyana, growth is estimated to be 7.7 per cent for this year, as the rice-growing and gold-mining sectors rebound.
“This positive outlook is as a result of easing of COVID-19 restrictions and increasing vaccination numbers, as the country moves further out of the pandemic,” the Central Bank said.