Economy Takes Major Hit from COVID-19


Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, Gaston Browne expects the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to fall below previously projected growth.


He said the country’s 2020 economic outlook has been drastically altered by the emergence and rapid spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, a challenge he likened to the Great Recession of 2008.


“The COVID crisis is perhaps more impacting than the 2008/2009 crisis”, said Browne, who is also the country’s Minister for Finance.


“I don’t wanna make any pronouncements at this point, but I can say that certainly it will not be the 6, 7% that we were projecting before and again it is the length of time or how long this thing continues that will determine eventually the level of growth, if any, that we may achieve this year”, said Browne.


Because of the nature of the current crisis, the country’s most important sector, Tourism has taken a major hit.


“I believe that there would be a significant reduction in the numbers for 2020 compared to 2019. In, 2019 we had a great year, a record year, we had about 309,000 tourists coming to the island. This year we projected that we would have exceeded the 309,000 tourists but from all indications, you know, there will be a reduction”, he said.


With the new coronavirus confirmed in more than 100 countries, people are less inclined to travel and this reality is something that will likely impact on the lives of many workers in Antigua & Barbuda both within and outside the Tourism Industry.


“Bookings for the next few months are not looking good and it has implications for our hotel operators and it also has implications for the staff because we may well see a number of lay-offs, people may be placed on days, and there could even be job losses if this crisis persists. Now, if the hotel sector does not do well then it will also impact on government’s revenue so we may struggle as well to meet our obligations to staff and to our creditors” Browne said.


“The disruption to revenue is real and the government now has to look possibly at some form of countercyclical bill, policy, in which we can probably borrow monies in order to spend to keep the economy afloat. Otherwise, we may find ourselves with a declining economy. We could find ourselves in a recession, the Finance Minister said.

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    • You took that straight from my mouth. Now he get an excuse for when he is asked questions about the “6.7%” growth. This man is ridiculous

      • Yea there was a global economic crisis, but Baldwin Spencer and Lovell used it as a crutch to justify their bullshit “leaderahip” long after the crisis passed.

  1. This is expected and the worst is yet to come. People are no longer going on cruises, folks are avoiding unnecessary travelling, airlines have begun to reduce flights because of low load factor. Our price control department needs to be very vigilant because many vendors might use this crisis period to raise the prices of consumer items. The practical side of this is that we have to seriously now look at cancelling Sailing Week, Carnival; and such events. This is the reality of the situation.

  2. @On The Move I agree with you there. POLITRIXS IS LIFE! ITS EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE…but please.. Let us try helping one another..Let us stop hoarding everything for ourselves(Generally speaking and this does not go for all) and save lysol, tolit paper, sanitizer etc for others

    The Blame game does not help anyone

  3. I say put the ABLP in opposition and Lennox Weston, Fire and steel etc will come up with the solution.

    ABLP will make this thing look like child’s play just put them in opposition and you get jokes.

  4. This position is a very obvious one it calls up on us as citizens to be very responsible in everything. Our leaders also must not turn this situation into a political cartoon show this about life and death because while we continue to play politics the virus can enter our shores and anyone of us can become infected.

    Looking at some of the comments am seeing here it tells we are not acting responsible and we are bringing party politics into such a serious epidemic.

    Whether you love the prime minister or not the message has to come from him as one of our head of state and the fact is the message is real. What we need to do as a responsible people is to start to prepare ourselves for structural adjustment and educate and prepare our children how serious this is so that they to can be responsible when they are out of parents car.

    It is my view that if we dont consolidate our efforts as one in this challenging times we would be almost committing a crime against humanity.

    Come antiguan we can do better than that we all in this together and we must be each others keeper.

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