2018 first quarter– as external debt repayments are growingPublic debt is on the rise, and it has been revealed that external debt repayments are also on the rise. This is according to the recently released Bank of Guyana Quarterly Report and Statistical Bulletin, which pegged the hike in public debt at US$19 million.Public debt is on the riseThe report divides this debt into external and domestic. External debt increased by 1.5 per cent from a December position of US$1.241 billion to US$1.265 billion.“The rise in the stock of external debt was on account of higher disbursements by multilateral creditors, specifically, IADB and CDB, for financing of social and economic infrastructural projects,” the report states.Domestic debt, on the other hand, increased to $89.5 million, from a December position of $88.8 million. Domestic debt, the report notes, increased because of a hike in treasury bills by 1.3 per cent.“(This) resulted mainly from a 1.5 per cent growth in the stock of the 364-day treasury bills during the first quarter,” the report adds.RepaymentRepayment of this external debt, according to the report, grew by some US$24.3 million to US$85.3 million. This is a rate of 59.1 per cent when compared to the corresponding period of 2017. This was not the case for domestic debt.“Domestic debt service payments fell by 14.6 per cent to $726 million, resulting mainly from a 23.2 per cent reduction in interest payments for treasury bills. Interest payments for the 182- and 364-day bills fell by 38.7 per cent and 17.6 per cent to G$36 million and G$358 million respectively.”“This position resulted mainly from competitive bidding, primarily amongst the commercial banks, compounded with lower interest yields during the review period,” the report outlines as a telling indicator.Finance Minister Winston Jordan, who was recently interviewed on the sidelines of Parliament, had said that Guyana’s public debt rate is actually nothing to worry about.Jordan had contended that as the economy grows, it could actually take on more debt.“You must stop looking at debt in absolute terms; debt must be looked at in relative terms. You look at debt to GDP (Gross Domestic Product), debt to revenue or something. As the economy grows, it can take on more debt. So it’s not a question of the absolute amount of the debt, it’s the relative amount,” Jordan told this newspaper.Pressed on exactly what the Government is doing to bring down the debt, Jordan would only allude to the international threshold of debt to GDP. The Finance Minister did not mention any steps Government was taking to mitigate the debt rate. A subsequent statement had however reinforced this point.The Public Debt Annual Report released by the Finance Ministry last year had highlighted that, since 2015, there has been a 4.1 per cent rise in Guyana’s indebtedness to creditors. The report details that Guyana’s total debt, inclusive of external and domestic, increased to $330 billion as at December 2016.The Ministry attributed this to disbursements from the Export-Import Bank of China towards the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project, as well as monies from multilateral creditors.A breakdown of the figures shows that total external debt amounted to $240 billion, a 72.6 per cent bite out of the total public debt. On the other hand, domestic debt stood at $90.6 billion, or 27.4 per cent of the total.“At the end of December 2016, multilateral creditors continued to be the predominant creditor category, accounting for 59.7 per cent of the external debt portfolio, a slight decrease from the 2015 position of 60.6 per cent. Bilateral lenders and commercial lenders represented 38.8 per cent and 1.5 per cent of the public external debt portfolio, respectively,” the Finance Ministry explained.“Although the nominal public debt increased, the total external public debt to GDP ratio declined from 36.1 per cent as at end December 2015 to 33.7 per cent as at end December 2016, as a result of GDP growth outstripping the rate of growth of public external debt stock,” the Ministry said, in justifying the increase.
Tournament organizer Alex Muange described the first two rounds as a huge success, saying he expects the competition to get even stiffer at the quarter final stage.Tournament organizer Alex Muange during the #KOT5Aside football tournament at the Ngong Road Arena on September 8, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu“It was good watching tweeps play some decent football and make new friends. We enjoyed ourselves and we look forward to another tournament,” he said.Adding; “I just want to say a big thank to all the 32 teams that showed up. I was very impressed. To the fans, your support is amazing. I would also like to say a big thank you to a special group of people who volunteered to be water girls and boys, nurse, doctors… they did well”Muange also paid tribute to the various corporates who lent a hand in organizing the event and sponsoring some teams, including Ogilvy PR whose side Ka Quarter only sniffed the quarter finals from a distance after losing 2-0 to Yum deliveries in the round of 16.Fans enjoy the action during the #KOT5Aside football tournament at the Ngong Road Arena on September 8, 2018. PHOTO/Courtesy“I would also like to thank Capital FM for the coverage since day one. You have played a role in the growth of the tournament,” he further said.Star studded Gumzo Mtaani will take on Handas in what will be the highlight of the last eight as teams vie to inherit the throne left vacant by defending champions Theeka whose wheels came off in the round of 16, crashing out of the tournament.Gumzo, sponsored by ‘Mimi ni Change’ NGO features a host of league players including Nakumatt goalkeeper Franklin Mwenda, Nairobi Stima and former Gor Mahia midfielder Ivan Anguyo, Mathare United midfielder Roy Okal and his former teammate Ronald Okoth.The Gumzo Mtaani team pose for a photo during the #KOT5Aside football tournament at the Ngong Road Arena on September 8, 2018. PHOTO/CourtesyThe heavyweights easily maneuvered their first two preliminary round games, making light work of Dug Out FC to win 2-0 in the first round before edging out Handshake by a similar margin in the round of 16.Handas have also had a brilliant run in the tourney. In the round of 16, Game ni 90 should have asked more time to live to their name after losing 3-0 after 12 minutes of action. Handas went on to register victory in the round of 16, coming out top of Albiontop with a similar score-line.In the other quarter final tie, Bedsitter will meet their peers from the other side of the divide when they face Cool Kids. The latter will hope for the same tempo they had facing other ‘sitters’ when they hit Baby Sitters 1-0 in the first round.Defending champions Theeka, pose for a photo during the #KOT5Aside football tournament at the Ngong Road Arena on September 8, 2018. Despite boosting their charge with more fans, they were unlucky not to go through PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluBedsitter refused to board a flight back home in the round of 16 where they kept their momentum winning by a similar margin against Ndege ya Ulaya.Turf Gong will take on Unfit FC in the other quarter final match while Yum Deliveries will park their bikes ready to take on Generali in the last tie of the round.Yum skipped off Shimo Mbaya with a 2-0 win in the first round before hitting Ka Quarter by the same score in the round of 16.Winners of the tournament will walk away with Sh10,000 worth of airtime from Safaricom while the second and third placed teams get Sh5,000.Ndege ya Ulaya goalkeeper takes a flight to save a penalty during the #KOT5Aside football tournament at the Ngong Road Arena on September 8, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluThe tournament’s Most Valuable player (MVP) will walk away with a lunch voucher from Tamarind as well as Jordan sneakers from Mwacheezy Collection.Also on offer will be merchandise from Kapa Oil and Jambojet as well as lunch vouchers from Yum Deliveries and movie tickets from iMax.Quarter Final pairingsBedsitter vs. Cool KidsUnfit FC vs. Turf GongHandas vs. Gumzo MtaaniYum Deliveries vs. GeneraliOgilvy PR’s Ka Quarter FC during the #KOT5Aside football tournament at the Ngong Road Arena on September 8, 2018. PHOTO/Courtesy0Shares0000(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Action between Ndege ya Ulaya and Chuom during the #KOT5Aside football tournament at the Ngong Road Arena on September 8, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 11 – The boys have been separated from the men, the wheat from the chaff. There were 32, and now there are eight.The Quarter Finals of the second edition of the #KOT5Aside football tournament have been scheduled for October on a date to be announced later, after the completion of the first two knockout rounds last Saturday.