Guyana’s non-oil economic growth 2nd fastest in world – Bharrat

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat

Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat has revealed that Guyana’s non-oil economic growth is the second fastest in the world, making it clear that Guyana does not depend on just oil for its economic growth.

During outreach in Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo) over the weekend, Minister Bharrat noted that Guyana can be a model country due to the way it has been managed through crises that have left other countries struggling even now.

“I want to say that since President Ali took over the government in August 2020, he has taken us through two of the most difficult situations this country has ever faced in our history. And one is the COVID period. We took over during the height of COVID. And the way in which his excellency managed the situation, we will use as a model country around the world.”

Bharrat further explained that Guyana’s international renown as the world’s fastest-growing economy is one that was earned. Bharrat also dispelled the notion that Guyana is dependent on oil for economic growth, noting that even with oil off the table, Guyana’s non-oil economy is one of the world’s fastest.

“Today as Guyanese we can boast that we have the fastest growing economy in the world. Why? When many other countries are struggling, because of the impact of COVID and the war in Ukraine and Palestine and elsewhere. Today we sit comfortably as the fastest growing economy in the world.”

“And many people may want to say it’s because of oil and gas. But we need to say to them, that Guyana is the second fastest economy without oil and gas. Or the second fastest-growing non-oil economy in the world. So, it is not only because of oil and gas. It is because of the management of the economy by his excellency the President of Guyana, our Vice President and the cabinet, assisted by technical staff,” he also said.

In the sugar sector, a 28 percent growth was recorded last year. This was a result of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) having produced 60,204 tonnes in 2023, compared with 47,049 tonnes in 2022. Similarly, the rice industry saw an expansion of seven percent, with the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) reporting a total production of 653,706 tonnes for 2023, above the 610,595 tonnes produced in the previous year.

The performance in these two industries pushed the overall growth in the manufacturing sector to 25 percent in 2023. This expansion was also driven by other manufacturing activities, mainly the manufacturing of fabricated metal products and non-metallic products. Additionally, the mining and quarrying sector grew by 42.6 per cent in 2023, due mainly to the burgeoning oil and gas industry.

Last year, the oil and gas sector expanded by 45.9 per cent, with production of 142.9 million barrels of oil compared with 101.4 million in 2022. This includes the production of crude oil at a rate of approximately 142,000 barrels per day (bpd) at the Liza Destiny FPSO, while the Liza Unity FPSO produced at a rate of 235,000 bpd.

In contrast, however, the gold mining industry contracted by 11.2 percent in 2023, on account of lower output from the small and medium-scale producers. Total gold declarations fell to 432,113 ounces last year.

Similarly, the bauxite mining industry also declined by 20.4 percent last year, due to reduced output from both producing operators. Bauxite production is estimated to have fallen to 525,000 tonnes last year.

The other mining subsector – sand, stone, diamonds, and manganese – showed a more positive performance, with a 22.7 percent growth in 2023. Expectedly, stone and sand extraction increased by 98 and 21 percent respectively, with demand from construction activity in the public and private sectors continuing to grow.

Predictably as well, is the 26.8 percent growth in the construction sector last year, building on the 26.3 percent growth in 2022. While in the service sector, a 10.3 percent expansion was recorded across all of the service industries.

Back in 2022, Guyana’s rapid economic expansion saw the country recording a 62.3% growth– placing the country amongst the fastest-growing economies globally. This rapid growth was attributed by the Government to the oil and gas sector, which expanded by 124 percent. Meanwhile, Guyana’s non-oil economy also saw a very strong expansion of 11.5 percent.