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Guyana: 2009 mid-year report presented to National Assembly – non-sugar GDP increases by 1.1%

2.5% growth expected this year

Georgetown — Nov. 13, 2009 — Guyana’s economy remained resilient, despite the poor performance of the traditional industries, especially sugar, in the first half of 2009 and the ongoing global financial and economic crisis, buoyed by a 1.1% GDP increase in the non-sugar sectors.

This is as a result of Government’s efforts to diversify the productive base of the Guyanese economy which has started to pay significant dividends, with the non-traditional sectors of livestock production, other crops, distribution, and transportation and communication leading the way.

A growth rate of three percent had been projected for the livestock sector for 2009, primarily based on the facts that the industry was poised to benefit from the improved breeds of cattle and the number of swine distributed in 2008, increased production of poultry meat and reduced levels of grain prices.
At the end of June, poultry meat, beef and pork production had all increased over the previous year’s levels for the same period.  As a result, livestock production grew by 4.4% in the first half of 2009 and the budget target for the year of three percent has been revised to four percent.

The other crops sector is estimated to have grown significantly above the path that was required for an annualized two percent growth rate, recording a five percent growth rate for the half-year.  The continued impact of the ‘Grow More Food’ campaign and the improved access of produce

from Region Six to Georgetown markets with the opening of the Berbice Bridge at the end of 2008 all converged to ensure a boost in supply of vegetables and fruits to households. The production performance is projected to be sustained throughout the second half, with overall output for the year being revised upwards to five percent.
The distribution sector recorded three percent growth at the end of the first half of the year, reflecting increased imports of consumer goods and fuel and increased agricultural produce which served to bolster distributive activities.

The sector has the platform to remain on its growth path, and is expected to exceed the projected annual growth target of 3.5%, and is estimated to grow by four percent by the end of the year. The transportation and communication sector was projected to grow by four percent in 2009 reflecting the greater level of activities between the coastland and interior areas.

In the transportation sub-sector, the opening of the Berbice Bridge last December reflected in a definitive shift from the use of the ferry service to speed-boat service and road travel via the Bridge.  At the half-year, it is estimated that the sector has achieved a 3.3% growth rate and will directly benefit from the predicted higher level of economic activity in the second half, which will put the sector on the path to achieve a growth rate of 6 percent.

Given the strength of the non-sugar sector of the economy, and the expected increase in sugar production in the second half of 2009, it is expected that the Guyanese economy will grow by 2.5% for the year.

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Winsome Murphy