The Guyana Gold Board (GGB) has managed to slash its deficit by an astounding 65 percent over the past year. The deficit was racked up between 2012 and 2013.
By November last year, the deficit had risen to $14.469B.
Under a new board, led by Gabriel ‘GHK’ Lall, the entity, which manages gold buying and trading for the state, that deficit included losses from monies borrowed from the Central Bank, has now been reduced to $6.764B, or 65 percent less.
Yesterday, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources, the improvements to GGB’s finances would be as a result of the agency’s capitalization on the spike in gold prices and through tighter spending control measures.
“The deficit was incurred in 2012 and 2013 when the Gold Board borrowed large sums from the national treasury to trade in gold, which resulted in massive losses.”
According to the ministry, since coming into office in May 2015, the A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) + Alliance For Change (AFC) administration has been working assiduously to bring the debt down and to better regulate the sector.
These efforts have shown success, the ministry stressed.
It was explained that a ‘buffer stock’ of gold was maintained and kept readily available whenever there were spikes in gold prices.
“This proved to be a redeeming feature which yielded much revenue over the period. Another method utilized was not to wait for huge profits but to access profitability of at least US$5 per ounce.”
The GGB also engaged in conservative derivative instruments as a means of generating additional revenue.
The cost cutting measures included a reduction in the number of flights between Georgetown and Bartica where GGB has re-established an office, and the streamlining international gold shipments.
The entity is also targeting a more stringent inventory control system and better management of its operational cost.
This coming year, says the ministry, GGB plans to employ more of the same strategies among other things to bring an end to the existing deficit and move the agency towards greater profitability.
“The Ministry of Natural Resources congratulates the Chairman, members of the Board, management and staff of the Guyana Gold Board on this stellar achievement and offers its support in the coming year for its efficient regulation of the trading of gold.”
GGB struggled earlier this year after some negative incidents.
First, three senior officials, including the General Manager, her deputy and the Legal Officer were all sent home amidst an investigation into possible collusion with embattled gold dealer, Saddiqui ‘Bobby’ Rasul.
A few weeks ago, two officials, the accountant and a clerk, were sent home for allegedly manipulating assay records for miners.
The gold trade has been the biggest foreign currency earner for the country over the last few years. A number of concessions were announced last week for miners.
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