IMF deputy lauds Govt for successful management of Guyana’s transformation

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

The Guyana Government has come in for high praises from the Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kenji Okamura, who commended its successful management of the country’s economic and infrastructure transformation.

Okamura and other representatives of the Fund, including IMF Executive Director Afonso Bevilaqua, were on a high-level two-day visit to Guyana, which ended on Thursday. During their visit, the IMF officials met with President Dr Irfaan Ali, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, and Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh on Wednesday at the Office of the President.

In a statement on the conclusion of his visit, the IMF Deputy Managing Director said he had a series of productive meetings which allowed him to gain a deeper understanding of Guyana’s impressive economic transformation.

Okamura congratulated the Guyanese authorities on the country’s unparalleled economic expansion.He said, “Guyana today is in the position to reap the benefits of rapidly increasing oil revenues due to the hard-won gains from implementing reforms and adjustment over the years. The plans put in place by the authorities and the strong progress are benefiting the entire population through better healthcare and educational programs, housing policies, energy, and transportation infrastructure.”Most importantly, the IMF official noted that these plans are also providing current and future generations with entrepreneurial and work opportunities through very strong economic growth, and a more diversified and climate resilient economy.

However, notwithstanding this recent economic boom, Okamura stated that Guyana still faces significant human and infrastructure development needs.

“I strongly support the authorities’ efforts to improve economic welfare through public investment, while avoiding the non-trivial risk of economic overheating. The authorities have managed this transformation successfully thus far, and we agreed that continuing to maintain macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability are paramount,” he asserted.

The IMF Deputy MD said that he also had discussion with the Guyanese Government on efforts to develop a large skilled labor force to ensure a balanced growth path with low inflation and opportunities for well-paying jobs throughout the country.

He further commended the Government for its visionary Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030 specifically recognising the sale of the country’s carbon credits and use of the funds earned to support the Amerindian population, finances climate adaptation needs, and fosters renewable and cleaner energy needed for development.

“The strategy, which includes marine conservancy and increased biodiversity goals, is ambitious,” he added.

Okamura also applauded the Ali-led Administration for driving the charge to reduce food imports by 25 per cent in the Caribbean region by 2025, and move closer to the goal of achieving food security.The deputy managing director also lauded the excellent and long-standing relations between Guyana and the IMF. “I look forward to our continued partnership through regular policy dialogue and technical assistance, including through the Caribbean Region Technical Assistance Center,” he added.

During the two-day visit, the IMF delegation, which included Alternate Executive Director, Reshma Mahabir; Mission Chief, Alina Carare, and Advisor to the Deputy Managing Director, Chad Steinberg, was taken on several site visits to major infrastructure projects as well as to the Amerindian community of Moraikobai, in Region Five (Mahaica/Berbice).

The finance ministry said these visits were a collaboration with the Ministries of Amerindian Affairs, Health and Housing and Water.

At Moraikobai, the IMF team witnessed the development of the indigenous villages through government’s interventions such as the setting up of a solar farm that assists in providing electricity and boosting internet service to the community.

Moraikobai is one of the indigenous villages benefitting from the $4.7 billion from the US$750 million carbon credit deal with Hess Corporation.The visiting officials were also taken to the site of EUR €149 million Paediatric and Maternal Hospital under construction at Ogle, East Coast Demerara. Works on the 256-bed hospital commenced on November 10, 2022, and is expected to be completed by October 15, 2025 by VAMED Engineering GmbH, an Austrian-registered company with funding from the UK Export Finance (UKEF).

In addition, the IMF delegation also visited Government’s Low Income Housing Development project at Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown. They were told that Government has constructed many of the low income and moderate homes with a number of persons already occupying the homes, while a large number of other lots in the areas have already been allocated to more Guyanese.

Prior to these visits, Okamura and his team met with Minister Singh at the Finance Ministry on Wednesday. During the meeting, Dr Singh provided an overview of economic developments over the years in Guyana and prospects looking ahead, as well as Government’s policies and programs to enhance the lives of the country’s citizens while containing risks during this current period of its stewardship of the country’s finances to improve all sectors of the economy.

In its December 2023 Article IV Consultation report, the IMF commended the Government of Guyana for economic management, including the implementation of policies and initiatives geared at transforming Guyana’s economy. The findings were published following an official IMF mission visit to Guyana in September of last year.

The IMF in its findings had highlighted that Guyana’s real GDP is expected to continue to grow rapidly, adding that the country’s growth should continue with an expansion of an expected 26.6 percent in 2024.