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Economy in Guyana


The main economic activities in Guyana are agriculture (production of rice and Demerara sugar), bauxite mining, gold mining, timber, shrimp fishing and minerals. Chronic problems include a shortage of skilled labour and a deficient infrastructure. In 2008, the economy witnessed a 3% increase in growth amid the global economic crisis. The economy further grew an impressive 5.4% in 2011 and 3.7% in 2012.

Until recently, the government was juggling a sizeable external debt against the urgent need for expanded public investment. Low prices for key mining and agricultural commodities combined with troubles in the bauxite and sugar industries had threatened the government's tenuous fiscal position and dimmed prospects for the future. However, the Guyanese economy has rebounded slightly and exhibited moderate economic growth since 1999, thanks to an expansion in the agricultural and mining sectors, a more favourable atmosphere for business initiatives, a more realistic exchange rate, fairly low inflation, and the continued support of international organizations.

The sugar industry, which accounts for 28% of all export earnings, is largely run by the company Guysuco, which employs more people than any other industry. Many industries have a large foreign investment. For example, the mineral industry is heavily invested in by the American company Reynolds Metals and the Canadian Rio Tinto Alcan; the Korean/Malaysian Barama Company has a large stake in the logging industry.

The production of balatá (natural latex) was once big business in Guyana. Most of the balatá bleeding in Guyana took place in the foothills of the Kanuku Mountains in the Rupununi. Early exploitation also took place in the North West District, but most of the trees in the area were destroyed by illicit bleeding methods that involved cutting down the trees rather than making incisions in them. Folk uses of balatá included the making of cricket balls, the temporary filling of troublesome tooth cavities, and the crafting of figurines and other decorative items (particularly by the Macushi people of the Kanuku mountains).

Major private sector organisations include the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI).

The government initiated a major overhaul of the tax code in early 2007. The Value Added Tax (VAT) was brought into effect, replacing six different taxes. Prior to the implementation of the VAT, it had been relatively easy to evade sales tax, and many businesses were in violation of tax code. Many businesses were very opposed to VAT introduction because of the extra paperwork required; however, the Government has remained firm on the VAT. By replacing several taxes with one flat tax rate, it will also be easier for government auditors to spot embezzlement. While the adjustment to VAT has been difficult, it may improve day-to-day life because of the significant additional funds the government will have available for public spending.

President Bharrat Jagdeo has made debt relief a foremost priority of his administration. He has been quite successful, getting $800 million of debt written off by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in addition to millions more from other industrial nations. Mr. Jagdeo was lauded by IDB President Moreno for his strong leadership and negotiating skills in pursuing debt relief for Guyana and several other regional countries.


Economy - overview : The Guyanese economy exhibited moderate economic growth in recent years and is based largely on agriculture and extractive industries. The economy is heavily dependent upon the export of six commodities - sugar, gold, bauxite, shrimp, timber, and rice - which represent nearly 60% of the country's GDP and are highly susceptible to adverse weather conditions and fluctuations in commodity prices. Guyana's entrance into the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) in January 2006 has broadened the country''s export market, primarily in the raw materials sector. Guyana has experienced positive growth almost every year over the past decade. Inflation has been kept under control. Recent years have seen the government''s stock of debt reduced significantly - with external debt now less than half of what it was in the early 1990s. Chronic problems include a shortage of skilled labour and a deficient infrastructure. Despite recent improvements, the government is still juggling a sizeable external debt against the urgent need for expanded public investment. In March 2007, the Inter-American Development Bank, Guyana''s principal donor, canceled Guyana''s nearly $470 million debt, equivalent to 21% of GDP, which along with other Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) debt forgiveness brought the debt-to-GDP ratio down from 183% in 2006 to 120% in 2007. Guyana became heavily indebted as a result of the inward-looking, state-led development model pursued in the 1970s and 1980s. Growth slowed in 2009 as a result of the world recession, but picked up in 2010-11, before slowing again in 2012, as a result of a second recession, this focused mainly in Europe. The slowdown in the domestic economy and lower import costs has helped to narrow the country''s current account deficit, despite generally lower earnings from exports.
GDP (purchasing power parity) : $6.256 billion (2012 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate) : $2.788 billion (2012 est.)
GDP - real growth rate : 3.3% (2012 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP) : $8,100 (2012 est.)
Gross national saving : 10.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use : household consumption: 82.2%

government consumption: 14.5%

investment in fixed capital: 21.6%

investment in inventories: -9.1%

exports of goods and services: 63.5%

imports of goods and services: -72.7% (2012 est.)
GDP - composition by sector : agriculture: 20%

industry: 34.8%

services: 45.2% (2012 est.)
Labour force : 313,100 (2009 est.)
Labour force - by occupation : agriculture: NA%

industry: NA%

services: NA%
Unemployment rate : 11% (2007)
Population below poverty line : 35% (2006)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
: lowest 10%: 1.3%

highest 10%: 33.8% (1999)
Distribution of family income - Gini index : 44.6 (2007)
Budget : revenues: $641 million

expenditures: $806.4 million (2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues : 23% of GDP (2012 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) : Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-5.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
Public debt : Public debt66.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
: 3% (2012 est.)
Central bank discount rate
: 5.5% (31 December 2011 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate : 13.9% (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of narrow money : $550.4 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of broad money : $1.696 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of domestic credit : $1.223 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares : $440.4 million (31 December 2011)
Agriculture - products : sugar cane, rice, edible oils; beef, pork, poultry; shrimp, fish
Industries : bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, textiles, gold mining
Industrial production growth rate : 6% (2012 est.)
Electricity - production : 817 million kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity - consumption : 683 million kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity - exports : 0 kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - imports : 0 kWh (2010 est.)
Crude Oil - production : 0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Crude Oil - exports : 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude Oil - imports : 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude Oil - proved reserves : 00 bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production : 0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption : 10,910 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports : 0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports : 10,680 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Natural gas - production : 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - consumption : 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - exports : 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - imports : 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves : 0 cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
Current account balance : -$324.8 million (2012 est.)
Exports : $1.311 billion (2012 est.)
Exports - commodities : sugar, gold, bauxite, alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber
Exports - partners : US 29.7%, Canada 27.8%, UK 5.9%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.2%, Jamaica 4.1% (2012)
Imports : $2.065 billion (2012 est.)
Imports - commodities : manufactures, machinery, petroleum, food
Imports - partners : Trinidad and Tobago 23.2%, US 21.3%, China 11.8%, Cuba 6.4%, Suriname 4.3% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold : $864 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Debt - external : $1.846 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Exchange rates : Guyanese dollars (GYD) per US dollar - 204.36 (2012 est.); 204.02 (2011 est.); 203.64 (2010 est.); 203.95 (2009); 203.86 (2008)
Fiscal year : calendar year




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