SUNSHINE Girl Jhaniele Fowler ,Reid warmed up for the England friendly series later this month with a brilliant performance at the University of West Indies, Mona, as defending senior intercollegiate netball champions Mico ‘A’ swept UWI 46-28 in their top-of-the-table clash on SaturdayWith both teams coming into the game unbeaten after three wins each, the repeat of last year’s final was expected to be a close and fiery affair.However, the Mico team, which boasts five national senior players in their line-up including Fowler-Reid at the goal-shooting position, Shantel Slater (goal defence), Nicole Dixon (goal attack), Trishana Hanson (centre) and Kadien Dehaney (goal defence), proved too strong for their opponents.With Fowler-Reid finding her range from the early exchanges, Mico raced to a quick 11-6 lead after the first quarter.UWI showed some more fight in the second quarter, particularly through goal shooter Shamara Nelson, goal attack Rebekkah Robinson and Thristina Harwood, who was played at wing attack.Mico, however, continued to dominate, with Dixon providing good support to Fowler-Reid inside the circle as Mico held their grip with a 20-12 half-time advantage.For the remainder of the game, it was all Mico, especially in the third quarter, where they outscored their opponent 17-1 to push their lead 37-13.With Mico resting most of their starters for the final quarter, UWI had their best showing in the game, outscoring the defending champions 15-9.Fowler-Reid top-scored for Mico with 30 goals from 34 attempts, while Dixon (12 from 14) and Slater, who changed position, later scoring 4 from 5 attempts. For UWI, Nelson top-scored with 22 from 28 attempts.The semi-finals are slated for this Saturday at the G.C. Foster College.Earlier in the day, playing at home, Mico ‘B’, which is also the defending intermediate champions scored a big 47-24 win over G.C. Foster College ‘B’. However G.C. Foster College ‘C’ turned the tables on the defending champions Mico ‘C’ in their junior encounter as the Spanish Town- based team won 29-22.
End-of-year reportThe Guyana Government recorded a fiscal deficit of $31.7 billion for the year 2016, approximately 4.4 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is according to the Finance Ministry’s End-of-Year outcome report, which was released on April 13.The report noted that the deficit was smaller than the expected $38.4 billion, or 5.4 per cent of GDP, which had been projected during the presentation of the 2017 Budget. The report put this difference down to lower expenditures.Finance MinisterWinston Jordan“The smaller-than-projected deficit was due to lower expenditures, particularly current expenditures, coupled with higher-than-projected revenues and grants.”The report added that tax and non-tax revenue collections in 2016 were $177.3 billion. According to the report, this amounts to $2.5 billion, or 1.4 per cent, more than the 2017 Budget projects.“Tax revenues rose to $151.7 billion in 2016. Total non-tax revenue increased to $25.5 billion, in line with projections at the time of the presentation of the 2017 Budget.”The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) was shown to have remitted $42.3 billion in 2016, which the report admitted was $274 million below projections of the 2017 Budget.Already, the Government has introduced a number of new tax measures which it says would widen its tax base. Some of these measures, such as the imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) on private tuition and on basic utility services over a stipulated threshold, have prompted street protests.ExpenditureMeanwhile, total Central Government expenditure was shown to amount to $216.8 billion for 2016, $4.2 billion lower than projected at the time of the presentation of the 2017 Budget. There were a number of reasons for this.“Total non-interest recurrent expenditure amounted to $163.4 billion in 2016, marginally less than the $166.7 billion projected at the time of the presentation of the 2017 Budget, due to lower-than-projected spending for Other Goods and Services and Transfer Payments,” the report stated.“Other Goods and Services totalled $46.8 billion for 2016, slightly less than the $48.8 billion projected. Transfer Payments totalled $67.3 billion in 2016, marginally less than the anticipated $68.8 billion.”Constitutional agenciesThe report revealed $686.8 million as the unspent sums from constitutional agencies. One of the reasons the report attributed this to was several projects not being executed owing to “setbacks” in the tender process.This comes after constitutional agencies received more than $7 billion in lump sums for the year 2016. At the time, the National Assembly had approved the allocations following contentions over the estimates, resulting in a number of proposals for funds being cut.Employment costs, according to the Finance Ministry’s report, totalled $49.4 billion in 2016, exceeding the $49 billion that had been anticipated.“Central Government capital expenditure amounted to $46.6 billion, slightly below the projected year-end position of $47.6 billion, due largely to continued slow implementation of our loan portfolio, which declined by 12 per cent.”The data submitted in the End-of-Year outcome report represents an update on the data which had been read by Finance Minister Winston Jordan in the 2017 Budget presentation last year. When that budget was read, the data Jordan had quoted at the time only reflected projections since the budget was an early one.