APNU AFC GOVT RECORDS $31.7 BILLION DEFICIT FOR 2016 April 19, 2017 www.guyanatimesgy.com
The Guyana Government recorded a fiscal deficit of $31.7 billion for the year 2016, approximately 4.4 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is according to the Finance Ministry’s End-of-Year outcome report, which was released on April 13.
The report noted that the deficit was smaller than the expected $38.4 billion, or 5.4 per cent of GDP, which had been projected during the presentation of the 2017 Budget. The report put this difference down to lower expenditures.
“The smaller-than-projected deficit was due to lower expenditures, particularly current expenditures, coupled with higher-than-projected revenues and grants.”
The report added that tax and non-tax revenue collections in 2016 were $177.3 billion. According to the report, this amounts to $2.5 billion, or 1.4 per cent, more than the 2017 Budget projects.
“Tax revenues rose to $151.7 billion in 2016. Total non-tax revenue increased to $25.5 billion, in line with projections at the time of the presentation of the 2017 Budget.”
The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) was shown to have remitted $42.3 billion in 2016, which the report admitted was $274 million below projections of the 2017 Budget.
Already, the Government has introduced a number of new tax measures which it says would widen its tax base. Some of these measures, such as the imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) on private tuition and on basic utility services over a stipulated threshold, have prompted street protests.
Meanwhile, total Central Government expenditure was shown to amount to $216.8 billion for 2016, $4.2 billion lower than projected at the time of the presentation of the 2017 Budget. There were a number of reasons for this.
“Total non-interest recurrent expenditure amounted to $163.4 billion in 2016, marginally less than the $166.7 billion projected at the time of the presentation of the 2017 Budget, due to lower-than-projected spending for Other Goods and Services and Transfer Payments,” the report stated.
“Other Goods and Services totalled $46.8 billion for 2016, slightly less than the $48.8 billion projected. Transfer Payments totalled $67.3 billion in 2016, marginally less than the anticipated $68.8 billion.”
The report revealed $686.8 million as the unspent sums from constitutional agencies. One of the reasons the report attributed this to was several projects not being executed owing to “setbacks” in the tender process.
This comes after constitutional agencies received more than $7 billion in lump sums for the year 2016. At the time, the National Assembly had approved the allocations following contentions over the estimates, resulting in a number of proposals for funds being cut.
Employment costs, according to the Finance Ministry’s report, totalled $49.4 billion in 2016, exceeding the $49 billion that had been anticipated.
“Central Government capital expenditure amounted to $46.6 billion, slightly below the projected year-end position of $47.6 billion, due largely to continued slow implementation of our loan portfolio, which declined by 12 per cent.”
The data submitted in the End-of-Year outcome report represents an update on the data which had been read by Finance Minister Winston Jordan in the 2017 Budget presentation last year. When that budget was read, the data Jordan had quoted at the time only reflected projections since the budget was an early one.