The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) indicates that the Haitian economy recorded negative growth of 0.7 per cent during 2019, in a preliminary assessment.
In its publication- a “Preliminary assessment of the region’s economies for 2019 – ECLAC outlines that the Haitian economy recorded negative growth of 0.7 per cent in 2019, below the 1.5 per cent growth rate recorded in 2018.”
Inflation rose to 20 per cent in annual rate up to September against 14.6 per cent and 15.4 per cent respectively for the year 2018 and 2017.
The budget deficit worsened to seven per cent of GDP (compared to 6.5 per cent of GDP in 2018 and 3.9 per cent in 2017), alongside a 34 per cent depreciation of the gourde.
“These negative results were associated with a prolonged political and economic uncertainty which dates back to July 2018.”
Further challenges in September and October occurred alongside a shortage of fuels.
ECLAC noted, “In October, there was an almost total paralysis of economic, financial and educational activities as well as, to a large extent, of the public administration itself.”
In 2019, government revenues decreased by 18 per cent in real terms, with a drop in forecasts for “direct (20 per cent) and indirect (14 per cent) taxes, as well as due to the contraction in tariff revenue (25 per cent).
In the capital, notes ECLAC, the tax and customs collection offices were unable to carry out their daily activities for several weeks.
Total central government expenditure was reduced by 18 per cent in real terms due to the contraction in current expenditure (12 per cent), and a sharp drop in public investment (72 per cent ), financed by resources from the Treasury.
ECLAC said, the economic prospects of ECLAC for Haiti in 2020 (0.3 per cent) are conditional on new programs established with organizations bilateral and multilateral funding.
It pointed out a worsening of food insecurity in 2019 with around a third of the population (3.7 million people) needing urgent food aid.