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Growth projections revised downwards as sugar takes hit

Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh (GINA photo)

The government has revised downwards the projected domestic economic growth for the year as a result of the poor showing of sugar up to the mid-year mark.

This was disclosed by Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh at a news conference Friday night where he added that there had been robust growth outside of the sugar sector.

“The full year growth projection for 2013 that was announced in budget 2013 was 5.3 percent. We’ve now projecting growth at 4.8 percent so still very robust growth relative to the growth that was projected at the time of the budget,” he told reporters.

Dr. Singh said the economy as a whole grew by 3.9 percent for the first half with that figure rising to six percent when sugar was excluded. Sugar output contracted by some 32.5 percent during the period.

“But happily our economy today is in a position where negative performance in a single sector dominant does not automatically result in a (poor) performance in the overall economy,” the minister said adding that the economy was more diversified now.

A report of key indicators released by Dr. Singh showed that gold declarations increased by 26.8 percent to 234,498 ounces and export earnings amounted to US$300.8 million, an increase of 12.2 percent over the corresponding period in 2012.

Rice production, meanwhile, expanded by 25.1 percent to 263,228 tonnes and export earnings amounted to US$83.3 million.

According to the report, the construction sector expanded by 6.6 percent, reflecting strong public sector activity combined with private housing construction and private sector construction activities. The financial and insurance service sector grew by some 9.1 percent while inflation was reportedly contained to 0.2 percent in the first half of the year.

Private sector credit is said to have expanded by 4.8 percent to $169.4 billion, with growth of 15.1 percent in the manufacturing sector, 15 percent in construction and engineering sector, 7.5 percent in mining and 7.4 percent in real estate mortgages.