Describing the Guyanese private sector as currently reserved and sluggish, an analysis in Bloomberg, one of the world’s most influential financial publications, surmised that Guyanese immigrants are doing more financial good for Guyana’s economy than the country’s private sector.
The publication’s analysis was based upon World Bank data and other field reports which measured the amount of cash that Guyanese abroad had sent home to their relatives via Western Union and other mediums; against local investment data that were gathered from multiple sources.
With more than US$300 million sent back home by Guyanese last year alone, comparative data showed that Guyanese abroad has plugged more money into the country in 2017 than Guyana’s private sector, which invested nothing more than about US$21 million into the economy for the same period, last year.
Rolling back to 2016, and 2015, the pattern remains the same, with Guyanese abroad injecting millions of dollar more into the economy than the private sector, which has been battling various challenges to compete with a heavy influx of Chinese-owned businesses, among other issues.
Nonetheless, several financial professionals with whom this publication has consulted agreed that Guyanese abroad have been playing a greater role in stabilizing the economy than most would have realized.
William Mansfield, a former research analyst at the World Bank had told the Guyana Guardian that these remittances from Guyanese abroad have served as a backbone during an anticipated recession in early 2017 which was possibly averted by a 19.3% increase in money transfers that was plugged into the economy, over the last 24 months.
He added that while it is not unusual for remittances to outrun private sector investments in a country, Guyana’s case is a unique one for Latin America, and shows that it is important that the country takes a closer look at extensively improving its remittances systems.
He advised that negotiating with existing remittance entities for reduced rates for inbound transfers from abroad, and encouraging competition from other large, well established and reputable remittance service providers in diaspora concentrated locations, can result in increased remittances numbers, among other things.
To make the remittance experience a better one for consumers, Mr. Mansfield suggested that the country also need to press remittance service providers to offer other additional services that are available elsewhere such as ATM withdrawal that is already offered by Western Union in other countries.
Other services that he suggested include direct remittance transfer to bank accounts and direct remittance transfer to utility companies.