A powerful software developed by the Commonwealth Secretariat is being rolled out in Guyana to transform how the country manages its public debt portfolio of US $3.9 billion.
At the request of the Government of Guyana, a team from the Commonwealth Secretariat was in Georgetown, the capital city, from 16 to 27 October 2023 to train government officials in the use of the web-based software, known as Commonwealth Meridian.
The move comes at a critical time when Guyana is experiencing remarkable economic growth driven by its expanding oil and gas sector.
Over the years, Guyana has been able to manage its public debt sustainably. The government’s effective debt management practices have contributed to a large decline in the country’s debt ratios over the past decades.
Guyana’s debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio has declined from about 600 per cent in 1991 to about 24.6 per cent in 2022. Additionally, in 1992, about 90 cents of every dollar of revenue earned was used to make debt service payments and today, this figure has been significantly reduced to about 7 cents of every dollar.
Guyana’s current public debt composition remains complex and diverse. In response to this challenge, the training equipped officials from Guyana’s Ministry of Finance, Central Bank and Audit Office with the necessary skills to efficiently record, report, analyse and manage various types of debt using the software’s robust capabilities.
Speaking about the training, Honourable Dr Ashni Singh, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, expressed gratitude for the continued support from the Commonwealth Secretariat.
“Guyana has maintained a strong debt sustainability position. This administration focuses on debt management policies and practices that hinge on a strategy that prioritises mobilising development financing at the lowest cost, within prudent risk parameters.
“However, the graduation of Guyana’s economy from lower middle-income to upper middle-income status has occasioned a decline in access to concessional financing. This has necessitated a heightened focus on effective debt management to ensure the financing of Guyana’s development initiatives is done in a manner that simultaneously ensures long-term sustainability.
“As Guyana’s public debt landscape evolves, the government welcomes the implementation of the Commonwealth Meridian software. Officials from the Commonwealth Secretariat have assured us that this software will enhance the effective and efficient management of Guyana’s public debt.
“The Government remains committed to maintaining a sterling track record of transparent and prudent debt management.”
The upgraded software was launched in 2019 and is already in use in 47 countries around the world.
Commonwealth Meridian replaces its predecessor, the Commonwealth Secretariat: Debt Recording and Management System (CS-DRMS), which has helped Guyana manage its public debt.
Commenting on the training, Joanne Allin, Commonwealth Secretariat’s Debt Systems Team Leader, said:
“The deployment of Commonwealth Meridian in Guyana marks a significant milestone. Guyana can now start benefitting from a modern and user-friendly system that facilitates more proactive and accurate management of its public portfolio while enhancing transparency.
“With enhanced operations and debt data, the system will support Guyana in maintaining sustainable debt levels and prudently using borrowed funds to invest in its people, enhance social services and achieve resilient economic growth.”
The software is offered free of charge to Commonwealth countries as part of the Commonwealth’s flagship debt management programme, which also includes advocacy and policy advice on formulating debt management strategies.
For media enquiries, please contact:
- Snober Abbasi Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
- T: +442077476168 | E-mail