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Guyana Table of Contents


The Economic Recovery Program

The Hoyte government signaled its commitment to reform in 1988 when it announced a far-reaching Economic Recovery Program (ERP). The plan had four interrelated objectives: to restore economic growth, to incorporate the parallel economy into the official economy, to eliminate external and internal payments imbalances, and to normalize Guyana's financial relations with its foreign creditors.

Restoring Economic Growth

To create a climate favorable for growth, the government removed many of the most onerous limitations on economic activity that had been put in place during the period following independence. First, the government liberalized foreign exchange regulations. For the first time in many years, the government allowed exporters to retain a portion of their foreign currency earnings for future use. Previously, only the government-owned Bank of Guyana had had the legal right to hold foreign currency. Second, the government lifted price controls for many items, although key goods such as petroleum, sugar, and rice remained controlled. Third, the government lifted import prohibitions for almost all items other than food and allowed individuals to import goods directly without government intervention. Fourth, private investment was encouraged by offering streamlined approval of projects and incentives such as tax holidays. To reassure potential foreign investors that Guyana's policy had indeed changed, the government announced in 1988 that "It is no part of Government's policy to nationalize property . . . . The era of nationalizations is therefore to be considered at an end."

Data as of January 1992