Guyana’s public debt remains sustainable with a moderate risk of debt distress.
According to Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, this is mainly as a result of Government’s continued effort to ensure that financing needs and payment obligations are met at the lowest possible cost over the medium-to long term, and debt is assumed with a prudent degree of risk.
At the end of June 2018, Jordan noted that Guyana’s stock of public debt amounted to US$1,637.2 million, similar to the 2017 half-year position. Of the total public debt, external debt amounted to US$1,255.1 million while domestic debt was US$382.1 million.
As a share of total public debt, Jordan said that external debt increased by 3.4 percentage points to 76.7 percent; the domestic debt decreased, correspondingly, to 23.3 percent relative to the position at June 30, 2017.
It was further noted that total public debt service payments rose by 25.6 percent, from US$35.3 million, for the first half of 2017, to US$44.3 million for the first half of 2018, primarily as result of increased payments to external creditors.
The total public debt service as a share of central government revenues was 8.5 percent, for the first half of 2018, compared to 6.6 percent, for the first half of 2017.
Over the review period, Jordan said that external debt service payments averaged about 86.0 percent of the total public debt service payments. At the end of June 2018, the external public debt increased by 4.6 percent or US$54.9 million, from US$1,200.2 million at the end of June 2017, to US$1,255.1 million. Jordan said that this was mainly attributed to a positive net flow from both multilateral and bilateral creditors.
During the first half of 2018, the Finance Minister noted that actual external disbursements decreased by US$3.8 million to US$27.0 million, as compared to the corresponding period in 2017, owing to lower disbursements from the Export-Import Bank of China, International Development Agency (IDA) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
He said that these creditors provide funding to projects such as Cheddi Jagan International Airport Extension Project, Guyana East Coast Demerara Road Improvement Project, Guyana Secondary Education Improvement Project, Guyana Education Sector Improvement Project and West Coast Demerara Road Widening and Improvement Project, all of which experienced lower levels of disbursements when compared to the first half of 2017.
Jordan said, “Of the amounts disbursed at the half year, the multilateral creditors accounted for 70.6 percent whilst bilateral creditors accounted for 29.4 percent. Multilateral creditors accounted for 57.9 percent with bilateral creditors accounting for the balance at end-June, 2017.
The first half of 2018 shows a heavier reliance on financing from multilateral creditors as compared to the previous year. Notably, the Inter-American Development Bank recorded the highest share of external disbursements at 35 percent or US$9.5 million.”
Further to this, the Finance Minister said that the debt to Guyana’s bilateral non-Paris Club and commercial creditors continued to accumulate arrears on external debt service payments.
At the end of June 2018, the external arrears marginally increased, by 2.3 percent or US$3.6 million, from US$161.3 million at the end of June 2017, to US$165.0 million. Recognizing the growing burden of this debt on the country’s portfolio, Jordan said that the Government has been vigorously engaging these creditors in debt negotiations in an effort to settle debts.
Oct 16, 2018By Sean Devers in Trinidad In association with Regal, Vnet, Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel In murky conditions and played before virtually empty stands, Guyana Jaguars, led by a 79-run...
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