Finance Minister spins employment, savings and economic performance numbers to trick and deceive

MP Asot Michael during budget 2023/Wayne Mariette Photo

The 2023 budget statement that “the real and tangible gains and benefits of our economic growth… are readily seen in the increase in employment, the growth in savings in the banks, and the enlarged investment by the private sector”, IS NOT TRUE.

The disclosure that more than 900 employed or self-employed persons were added to the list of registered workers contributing to the Social Security Scheme in 2022 is evidence of increasing employment, is deliberately misleading. WHY?

Because the statement does not say how many registered SS contributors were removed from the register in 2022;

Because11,000 social security contributors dropped off the register in 2020 and 2,500 have still not resurfaced.

This is not clear evidence of any increase in customary employment levels. It is confirmation that employment is still struggling behind pre COVID levels.

The Budget Statement that an expansion of $145 million in household savings shows “beyond any shred of doubt that greater income flowed to our people”, IS NOT TRUE.

A few privileged business persons enjoying increased profits from the sacrifices of poor people paying significantly higher prices for goods and services, and therefore able to save more, do not represent the suffering people of Antigua and Barbuda.

While a few are doing well, the majority are catching hell. IT IS NOT TRUE that “a large number of households were sufficiently aided by government’s policies that empowered them to save”.

Wages and salaries have not increased but the cost of goods and services needed for the survival of the majority of Antiguans and Barbudans have risen astronomically. Where would they find the money to save?

The Budget Statement reveals that the total value of goods and services (GDP) in Antigua and Barbuda increased by 8.5% in 2022. Inflation – the general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money – is reported as 9.2% in 2022.

If a country is buying goods and services at increased prices, then the value of those goods and services (GDP) will increase. When the people have to pay the increased prices with incomes that remain the same, their purchasing power is reduced.

Then the struggle to make ends meet will be real. Things will be rough. Common sense 1-0-1.

So, while the Ministers of government go to Parliament and spin around these GDP growth and inflation numbers to make a case of how great they are, the people have it hard. They are suffering really bad.

Inflation is 9.2 percent but food price increases across the board in recent years have tripled the inflation rate.

The story of the increasing struggle to put food on the tables of families across this country is on the supermarket shelves.



ITEM SP 2020 SP 2023 Increase %
Purity Flour 1kg 5.15 5.45 $ 0.30 6%
Rice 1kg 3.15 4.25 $ 1.10 35%
Sugar 1kg 3.19 4.15 $ 0.96 30%
Elbow Pasta 2.15 3.55 $ 1.40 65%
Sardine 5.5oz 2.49 3.39 $ 0.90 36%
Grace Corned Beef 6.35 8.66 $ 2.31 36%
Libbys Vienna Sausage 4.6oz 2.79 3.99 $ 1.20 43%
Sunshine Corn Flakes 340g 6.99 7.99 $ 1.00 14%
Corn Meal Fine 12oz 3.35 4.45 $ 1.10 33%
Corn Meal Fine 24oz 5.65 8.45 $ 2.80 50%
Orchard Orange Juice ltr 5.92 6.2 $ 0.28 5%
Salted Pollock 12oz 10.95 14.25 $ 3.30 30%
Chicken Wings per pound 4.39 5.15 $ 0.76 17%
Chicken Backs per pound 2.79 3.15 $ 0.36 13%
Turkey Drums per pound 7.95 8.95 $ 1.00 13%
Lentils 1lb 5.49 6.99 $ 1.50 27%
Corn on Cob each 4.98 5.83 $ 0.85 17%
Apples per pound 7.5 9.5 $ 2.00 27%
Apples each 1.09 1.5 $ 0.41 38%
White Potatoes 2.95 4.95 $ 2.00 68%
Bread Plait 3.19 3.95 $ 0.76 24%
Milk Dutch Lady 1lt 4.17 5.45 $ 1.28 31%
Yogurt 3.19 3.79 $ 0.60 19%
Protex Soap 113g 2.79 3.39 $ 0.60 22%
108.61 137.38 $ 28.77 26%






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  1. Asot, regardless of what they say about you, you keep exposing the liar/deceiver and his followers in parliament.

    Good work.

    The Labour Party will continue to sink until they throw gaston overboard. That is clear for all who have eyes to see.

  2. Assot you brought a manifesto of projects AS AN INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE, that is the biggest spin because you know you will not do these things on your own and you know as an independent you cant control the resources of the state unless as many speculated you would have joined UPP had there being a tie. THAT IS THE BIGGEST SPIN. When are you going to start the projects?

  3. Has this rummel paid the youngmenfor their musical service to support his campaign activities?

    To quote Peter Redz as he posted on gay truth live in reference to Disco Dumpling “He is an EVIL GENIUS”

  4. White potatoes 68% increased? It is time for me to grow my own food in my backyard and eat healthy in the process.

    • Asot has reaffirmed that there’s nothing truthful to be expected from ALP.

      The budget is a wake up call to Antiguans to stop relying on imported goods and return to growing our own goods. There was a time we used to make bread from Cassava before the advancement of globalisation. Globalisation has taken away our natural and healthy way of living to the point where are now struggling to make ends meet. Grow our own is the solution out of economic crisis that is being hidden from us.

  5. Wid all dat staple in them tummock, should be eating less anyway…..

  6. Thank you for explaining in simple terms. The $145 million savings made absolutely no sense to me. Gaston loves to throw out a lot of economic/finance terms to confuse people but one only has to talk to the average joe on the street to realise that people are suffering.

  7. Honorable Ascot Michael is stating facts. However, I do not believe that the Prime Minister who is also the Minister of Finance and therefore responsible for presenting the Budget to his colleague parliamentarians and the nation of Antigua and Barbuda.
    The reason for the hike in prices may very well be external to our land and related to the rise in prices of goods coming from countries where we import our food from and the rise in transporting these goods to our shores. PM Browne and his administration are saddled with the responsibility of solving many problems which we call “running the goverment” and so the solution that he proposes is for our nation to achieve food security so that we solve that problem permanently. If we as a population “buy local” we will achieve food security and achieve food security at the same time. Debates are a healthy way to come up with the best way for us to prosper and move forward collectively. Opposing for opposing sale and scoring points may not be the best way to achieve the best for the people in your constituency Honourable Michael.

  8. Asot’s fake chart
    I’ve been buying the samethings forever and I spotted one, last year libbies sausage was not 2.79 last year and now 3.99
    The sausage was 3.15 and now 3.25
    Asot don’t try it- I can imagine how many others are the same

    • Was 3.99 last time I purchased a can. Not sure what it used to be. Was always a bit more expensive than some other brands I used to purchase. Some of the cheaper brands are hard to find now. So, forced to buy pricier brands now.

      • Mr. Michael makes some good points as to interpretation of this particular data. Without more information, one can only make assumptions about who is saving, working etc.
        Ultimately, we should all work together to increase local and regional food production using healthy practices to decrease food costs and eat more healthfully. Hopefully, we keep enough of what we produce for local consumption before exporting excess. Wherever there is a problem, there is also a job opportunity. So, hopefully unemployed persons will consider helping out in the food sector.

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