AFC Press Statement

4th November 4, 2022

Statement on the World Bank Fact sheet on Guyana

The Factsheet on Guyana as presented by World Bank in the most recent update on October 3rd 2022 spoke to the hardships being face by Guyanese in an oil producing economy. The situation as portrayed by the data presented in the factsheet of the World Bank report is what is lived by Guyanese daily; Poverty, Income loss, and High Infant Mortality rate. The report also highlights

significant risks that the country faces with emphasis being placed on management of the oil resources, the quality of spending and the Dutch disease.

The World Bank fact sheet speaks to the most recent data on poverty stating that 48% of Guyanese are living on less than $1000 per day; this data sadly does not take into consideration the inflation rate as experienced in Guyana from 2020 to now, particularly the inflation rate for basic food items.

The report also stated, and I quote “In 2021, 71.6 percent of Guyanese households had experienced income loss compared to January 2020 levels — with the most severe impact typically found in low-income households.” End of quote. Income loss is not a figment of our imagination, as the bureau of statistics last report stated that youth unemployment is at 31.9% and the bank of Guyana half year report stated that Public Sector employment fell by 10.9 percent at endOJune 2022. This is particularly due to lower employment within Central Government by 17.7 percent.

These are real issues being faced by Guyanese and there is no efforts being made by the PPP administration to even attempt to remedy or provide aid to the most vulnerable people in society.

And when information from the Bureau of Statistics and the Bank of Guyana is examined it is clear that more Guyanese are currently living in poverty today, with oil resources, than were living in poverty in 2019, without oil resources.

The fact sheet also substantiated that fact by pointing out that the negative impacts of the pandemic persisted in 2021 with about half of households (49 percent) reportedly experiencing lower total household income compared to the period before the pandemic. The Alliance For Change has been calling on the PPP to put measures in place to tackle the issue of household income prior to this updated report and we urge the PPP administration to act now to arrest these issues. We call on the PPP to give the elderly a pension that they can live and we reinforce our call for public servants to be given a decent salary increase of at least 50%. These calls are justifiable, particularly when the world bank is reporting that and I quote “Oil production, and consequently real GDP, is expected to jump in 2022 with real GDP expected to more than double by 2023, pushing per capita income to over US$20,000 at the current nominal exchange rate.”

The resources are available, and it cannot be business as usual for the PPP when people cannot afford a decent meal, and when people living in poverty is seeing their squatting homes bulldozed to the ground. The report of the World bank should be used as a call to action by the PPP, particularly when the report stated, and I quote, “Increasing oil and gas revenues will allow financing of significant budget outlays to address development needs and tackle poverty”, end of quote. The Alliance For Change calls on the PPP to put policy measures in place to tackle the rising cost of living and to ensure that the funds from oil and gas is directed to the Guyanese people.