The outbreak of the coronavirus in Guyana is taking a toll on the South American country’s finances, according to President David Granger.
On Sunday, during a media interaction, the head of State for the Cooperative Republic of Guyana revealed that the global health crisis has created a slowdown in production.
“COVID-19 has affected other aspects of government… we have received requests and presentations from every ministry of the government,” President Granger continued.
However, since the Government has not passed a budget for 2020, ministries had to use one-twelfth of the budget allocations from 2019.
Despite calling both general and regional elections earlier, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has had its difficulties declaring a winner. However, with the Guyanese Parliament dissolved and the absence of an outright winner of the elections, the incumbent Government could not pass a budget.
Just yesterday, however, Retired Justice Claudette Singh, who is the chairman of GECOM, declared the Opposition Peoples Progressive Party Civic the winner of the elections and Dr Mohammed Irfaan Ali as a presidential candidate.
Last Sunday Granger explained that “money is there but it has to be deployed to COVID-19 responses so naturally the expenses are high”.
Since Guyana recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus, the Coalition Government has put several measures in place to reduce and control its spread locally, including restricting international travel and instructing those who can to work from home. These measures have resulted in a slowed-down economy.
“We have not been able to collect as much revenue as we would have in normal times as many people are not working, some are working from home, production and trade have slowed, and the airports are closed, so there will be a shortfall in revenue,” President Granger pointed out further.
As a result, he said, there will naturally be a gap between the income and expenditure and maintained that everything the coalition has done has been within the law.