Finance Minister Meets Mubadala – UAE Sovereign Investment Vehicle – as Guyana’s participation in Dubai World Expo Continues

Georgetown, Ministry of Finance, October 20, 2021: Senior Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh and a group of Guyanese private sector representatives met earlier today with Mubadala, the sovereign wealth investment company within the United Arab Emirates. The Mubadala delegation was led by Mr. Musabbeh Al Kaabi, Chief Executive Officer of UAE Investments. The meeting took place at Mubadala’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi, on the margins of Guyana’s participation in World Expo 2020 currently being held in Dubai, at which Guyana’s delegation is led by His Excellency the President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali.

During the meeting with Mubadala, Minister Singh and the Guyanese delegation reiterated the rapid economic transformation that is currently underway in Guyana, and highlighted a number of sectors that are poised for immediate growth and that are therefore ripe with investment opportunities. These include: the oil and gas sector which is poised to exceed one million barrels a day before the end of the decade; non-oil extractives such as gold, bauxite, manganese, and other minerals, with a number of international large scale operations already set to ramp up their production plans in the near term; tourism and hospitality including new and emerging sub-sectors such as the development of cruise ship facilities as well as yachting marinas; world class medical and educational facilities, including to provide medical care and education as services for export; as well as information and communications technology and others. Minister Singh also alluded to the several characteristics that make Guyana one of the most rapidly growing economies of the world and one of the most attractive destinations for investment globally under the leadership of President Irfaan Ali.

The Mubadala team welcomed the information shared by Minister Singh and the delegation on the Guyanese economy and associated investment opportunities in Guyana, sought various clarifications which were addressed by the Guyanese team, and signaled interest in advancing discussions in a number of specific areas. The two sides committed to advance these discussions as appropriate.

Mubadala is a $243 billion (UAE Dirhams 894 billion) business that spans six continents with interests across multiple sectors and asset classes. Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, Mubadala also has offices in London, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, New York, San Francisco and Beijing. The UAE Investments platform within Mubadala contributes to the acceleration of the UAE’s economic transformation, and investing in national world class champions, fostering vibrant industrial and commercial clusters, and partnering with world-class global entities.

The Guyanese delegation’s participation in Dubai Expo continued during today and will continue tomorrow with a number of engagements set between the Guyanese representatives and representatives of both UAE Government agencies as well as private sector entities all with the aim of fostering closer economic ties and promoting accelerated economic growth.

Urgent action needed to contain effects of pandemic -says Senior Finance Minister – during attendance at 2021 high-level Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the IMF, WB

Georgetown, Ministry of Finance, October 12, 2021: Senior Finance Minister Dr. Ashni K. Singh today indicated that Latin American and Caribbean countries need to act with urgency in the recovery process. The Minister served as a panelist on a virtual high-level meeting titled “The Road to Recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean”. This was convened as part of the 2021 Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB).

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is the region hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and thus, the meeting featured an exchange between high-level policy makers across countries and sectors including Ministers of Finance, Planning, Labour, Health and Education, to discuss progress towards closely interrelated objectives by policymakers that focus on supporting the region’s pandemic recovery. These objectives include: strengthening LAC’s public health response to creating the necessary space for economic reactivation, minimizing the long-term scarring by the crisis on human capital development, and supporting job creation, particularly for those impacted by the crisis.

During his presentation, Minister Singh indicated that even as Latin American countries battle the various challenges, first and foremost is ensuring that people are protected.

“First, we must do all we can to keep our people alive, safe, and well. This necessitates ensuring: adequate capacity in the health care system; access by the entire population to food, potable water, and sanitation, especially given the ongoing threat to livelihood faced by the most vulnerable; and access to vaccines given the scientific evidence on vaccine efficacy. In Guyana, for example, we have pursued an aggressive vaccination campaign, achieving to date first dose coverage of 71 percent and second dose coverage of 42 of the adult population, and amongst the adolescent population, 35 percent first dose coverage and 20 percent second dose coverage,” Minister Singh emphasized.

The Minister said affected countries need to act with urgency especially in terms of their approach to minimizing the damage to their economies and getting their countries back on track to the path of recovery.

“Second, we must contain damage to the economy. This will likely involve a phased reopening of the economy without compromising the safety of our people. It might also involve some measure of support to help ensure that the private sector can navigate the crisis and survive financially. In Guyana, we rolled out a universal cash transfer programme delivering COVID-19 cash grants to every household across the country. This injected essential liquidity into the household sector and by extension helped to kickstart a resumption of economic activity,” he said.

With Guyana’s 2021 Mid-Year report indicating a 14. 5 percent economic growth with a 4.8 percent growth in the non-oil economy, the Senior Finance Minister concluded that LAC countries can address the challenges to their economies by addressing the critical impediments to their growth.

“Third, we must lay the foundation for full recovery and sustained economic growth in the medium and longer term, by addressing and alleviating the most critical prevailing impediments to growth. In many countries, these will include catalytic infrastructure, human capital development, technological advances, and the business environment. In Guyana, we are focusing heavily on addressing all aspects of this agenda, with a view to ensuring a well-diversified and resilient economy going forward, “Minister Singh concluded.

In Guyana, in addition to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the country experienced devastating flooding in several Regions in May-June last which resulted in the flooding of several agricultural lands, further impacting the performance of some of the sectors in the non-oil economy. Government has been working assiduously on the path to recovery providing support to the household and productive sectors. Looking ahead, it is anticipated that the revised full-year forecast for real GDP growth in Guyana in 2021 would be 19.5 percent overall and 3.7 percent for the non-oil economy.

Government Announces Further Cut in Excise Tax on Fuel – Prices at Pump expected to reduce

Georgetown, Ministry of Finance, October 6, 2021: Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, today announced that Government will be further reducing the excise tax on gasoline and diesel to ease the domestic impact of the continuous rise in the world market price for fuel.

It could be recalled that on February 17 of this year, the Government reduced the Excise Tax rate on both gasoline and diesel from 50 percent to 35 percent. Since this time, oil prices have continued to rise steadily on the world market, moving from over US$60 a barrel to over US$80 a barrel at close of trade on October 5, 2021. This steady rise in the world price has had a resultant effect with prices rising on the domestic market also.

Minister Singh announced today that the Government will be lowering the excise tax rate on both gasoline and diesel from 35 percent to 20 percent with immediate effect. This reduction will aid in cushioning the impact on domestic consumers, particularly the travelling public as well as those productive sectors for whom fuel is an important input.

The prices at the pump are expected to also be reduced with immediate effect, with gasoline prices expected to reduce from $213 per litre to $198 per litre, and diesel prices from $200 per litre to $185 per litre.

Minister Singh explained that the adjustment in the excise tax rate on fuel from time to time is part of the measures that the PPP/C Government will implement to cushion the domestic impact of world market price fluctuation. He emphasized that implementation of these measures are in keeping with President Irfaan Ali’s commitment to ensuring that Guyanese consumers continue to be protected from escalation in fuel prices on the world market as far as possible.

Guyana’s economy grew by 14.5 percent in first half of 2021, non-oil economy by 4.8 percent, despite COVID-19 and May/June Floods

2021 Mid-Year Report reveals

Georgetown, Ministry of Finance, October 5, 2021: The Ministry of Finance’s Mid-Year Report for 2021 has indicated that Guyana recorded real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 14.5 percent while non-oil GDP grew by 4.8 percent, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and even the devastating floods experienced in May-June.

Due to the unprecedented floods which impacted particularly the agriculture, forestry and mining sectors, along with the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of which will spill over into the last half of the year and even beyond, the revised full-year forecast for real GDP growth in 2021 is now 19.5 percent overall and 3.7 percent for the non-oil economy.

The Mid-Year Report is expected to be tabled by Senior Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh at the first sitting of the National Assembly once the Assembly resumes after its current recess.

Sector Performance

With regard to sector performance, the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries for the first half of 2021 are estimated to have contracted by 2.4 percent compared with a decline of 4.1 percent for the corresponding period last year and it was noted that this was as a result of lower output from the other crops, sugar growing, forestry and fishing industries.

“At the end of the first half of the year, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) produced 29,650 tonnes of sugar. This performance reflects the record high levels of rainfall, which resulted in waterlogged soils, particularly at the Albion Estate, and strike action that resulted in over 5,600 man-days being lost,” the Mid-Year Report indicated. As such, it was emphasized that the sugar industry declined by 22.4 percent when compared to the same period in 2020. Some of the reasons indicated were a 30 percent mortality of mature cane at Albion estate, 10 percent at Uitvlugt and 5 percent at Blairmont due to the floods. Another 15,000 tonnes of sugar in the second crop were also expected to be lost, based on the Report.

Meanwhile, the Report noted that the rice industry grew by an estimated 7.8 percent in the first half of the year, marginally lower than the target set for the period, ‘other crops’ declined by 7.3 percent due to the floods and the livestock industry was estimated to have grown by 10.6 percent when compared to the same period in 2020. However, for that same period, the fishing industry contracted by an estimated 6.6 percent and the forestry industry by 7.1 percent.

Referencing the extractive industries, the Report indicated that in the first half of 2021 the mining and quarrying industries were estimated to have grown by 23.1 percent, with higher output from the petroleum and other mining industries despite contractions in gold and bauxite.

It was noted that total output from the petroleum sector increased by 65.4 percent when compared to the same period last year. With respect to diamond, sand and stone, these were estimated to have seen a total growth of 63.3 percent with quarry stone having a growth output of 141 percent, sand declarations growing by 119.3 percent as a result of increased activity in the construction sector while diamond declarations improved with a growth of 166.3 percent. The outlook for the remainder of this year for other mining industries was estimated to be promising as well with an estimated growth rate of 74.5 percent for the entire year.

With regard to manufacturing, this sector notably saw an estimated growth of 13.1 percent when compared to the same period last year with expansion of the sector being attributed to a growth of 23.1 percent in other manufacturing. In the category of other manufacturing, growth was experienced in the manufacturing of non-metallic products, chemical products and beverages.

Meanwhile, the services industries were estimated to have expanded in the first half of 2021 by 9.4 percent when compared to the same period in 2020 as it was noted that the measures to curtail the impact of COVID-19 would have severely impacted such activities last year. Notably, the Report indicates that the gradual relaxation of these measures would have contributed to some growth in the sector.

The Report also noted the strong performance of the construction sector which grew by 25.5 percent in the first half of 2021, reflecting increased emphasis on implementing the public sector investment programme as well as increased private sector construction reflecting improved private sector confidence and optimism regarding the economic outlook.

Balance of Payments – Larger Merchandise Trade Surplus

The Mid-Year Report noted that at the end of the first half of this year, ‘the overall balance of payments recorded a deficit of US$67.4 million compared with a deficit of US$2.8 million at the end of June 2020’ with the current account registering a deficit of US$39.1 million in comparison to a deficit of US$396.5 million for the corresponding period in 2020. This was attributed to a ‘significant increase in the merchandise trade surplus which moved from US$72.7 million, to US$813.3 million. The merchandise trade account, according to the Report, improved as a result of export receipts expanding by US$786.9 million, outweighing the US$46.2 million increase in imports.

Meanwhile, the capital account showed a deficit of US$19.6 million when compared with a surplus of US$419.7 million at the end of June 2020, attributed to ‘outflows of US$1,713 million from private enterprises in the oil and gas sector along with outflows of US$123.6 million in revenue from the petroleum sector to the Natural Resource Fund’. The Report also highlighted the fact that foreign direct investment in the first half of 2021 was 41.6 percent higher than the US$940.6 million recorded last year for the same period.


At the end of the first half of 2021, consumer prices grew by 5.6 percent. This was largely driven by increased food prices, as a result of the inclement weather and shortages experienced following the flood. Further, the Report indicated that the bottlenecks in the global supply chain adds some measure of imported inflationary pressures. However, the Report underscores, that the price increases are ‘transitory’ and are unlikely to have lasting long-term impact on inflation’. Inflation is now projected to be in the order of 3.8 percent for the full year.

One of the Fastest Growing Economies

Earlier this year Senior Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh had indicated that Guyana would be one of the fastest growing economies in terms of real GDP and would see rapid transformation in a number of sectors especially since Government would make efforts to boost the non-oil economy as well.

“We’re anticipating a rapid expansion in the services sector, including transport and logistics, construction of infrastructure including roads, bridges, office buildings in the private sector, etc, along with expansion in other services such as financial services, all of which will contribute to rapid expansion in real output. So, you’re going to see Guyana being one of the fastest growing economies in real GDP terms…. globally in the hemisphere and certainly in the Caribbean… a lot of the real GDP growth in the region will be driven by Guyana,” he had emphasized.

The favorable economic performance at the end of the first half of 2021 in the non-oil economy bodes well for the upcoming second half of 2021 and beyond. It is expected that advances in key investments, both in the public and the private sector, will buttress the second half performance of the economy.



250 jobs for Linden as Government inks MOU with Midas BPO to re-establish Call-Centre

Georgetown, Ministry of Finance, September 24, 2021: As Government continues in its efforts to ensure that employment is increased throughout the country, Senior Finance Minister Dr. Ashni K. Singh today participated in a ceremony in Linden, Region Ten which saw a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) being signed between the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) and Midas Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Inc. for the expansion of the BPO to the Mining Town.

With the expansion of the business to that Region, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Midas, Malcolm Sobers explained that 50 to 75 persons would be recruited by October 1 while by year- end that number would increase to 150, then further moved to 250 by June 2022. He noted that the company would commence the recruitment process for employees from within the town immediately after the signing ceremony. In fact, it was observed that a large number of young persons had already gathered outside the building enthusiastically waiting with applications in hand.

The Guyanese businessman said he was also ecstatic that he was able to expand to Linden to assist in creating jobs and expressed his intention to have his business expand to other Regions. He further expressed his appreciation to especially the Senior Finance Minister and Go-Invest’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Peter Ramsaroop as he explained that the officials were quick to respond to his business- expansion need and showed serious commitment to the BPO industry. Sobers recalled that 17 years ago he attempted to commence his own operations in Guyana but was unsuccessful while four years ago, when he made another attempt, no one responded to his expressed interest. He concluded that it was a dream realized for him to see his business grow in the manner it has.

During his remarks prior to the signing, Minister Singh said that Sobers’ success story is one which could be emulated by each new employee who came to work at Midas. He emphasized that Sobers’ journey as a young Call-Centre agent who moved up to higher positions in the BPO industry within twenty years, to now being a proprietor, is a success story for many young persons who may be considering the industry as a serious one for career-advancement.

Dr. Singh then alluded to the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic’s (PPP/C’s) commitment to Information Communications Technology (ICT) and recalled that the focus on this started since under former President Jagdeo’s tenure.

“I had the privilege of being associated with the early efforts to bring the sector to Guyana. In those days the President of Guyana was President Jagdeo who saw the remarkable potential of technology-based industries to transform the economic landscape of Guyana and who saw the remarkable potential of technology-based solutions to creating jobs in Guyana, and President Jagdeo at the time very enthusiastically and aggressively promoted Information Communications Technology,” the Minister reminded.

“Today the fruits of those efforts are now being harvested under President Irfaan Ali’s tenure,” he added.

Quoting from the PPP/C’s 2020 manifesto, Minister Singh said the event symbolized Government’s promise to Guyanese of using “ICT as an enabler for jobs-creation” and he repeated the portion of the manifesto to attendees which states, “The ICT sector, if properly incentivized, can generate thousands of new jobs through co-investment, providing infrastructure support, state-sponsored training, and employment opportunities for the disabled.”

Minister Singh then highlighted the several other steps being taken by the PPP/C Government to promote the development of the ICT sector in Guyana, including the liberalization of the telecommunications sector and investment in ICT education.

Also speaking at the event was PPP/C’s representative for Region Ten, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill who said that Government is serious about its commitment to the Region and will continue to prove this through its efforts to catapult development in not only ICT and job- creation, but also in infrastructure, housing and social services, as he alluded to the works currently being done on the Linden-Mabura Road and housing for young professionals.

“This is not a stand-alone activity that we are celebrating. This is part of a suite of measures that are being made to bring real development to Linden and Region Ten,” Minister Edghill reiterated.

It was only last month that the Senior Finance Minister visited Midas’ Headquarters located in New Market Street, Georgetown, where he lauded the efforts of Mr. Sobers on pursuing his vision, which had materialized into the successful BPO facility that only commenced operations in August 2020 but has since allowed for the employment of 330 Guyanese. The businessman had noted then that his business was heading towards expansion in Guyana. The event was proof that he meant business.