CMC-The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the economy in Antigua and Barbuda is “rebounding” from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and is projecting economic growth of seven per cent this year.
Real GDP (gross domestic product) growth is estimated at 4.8 per cent in 2021, following a sharp contraction of 20.2 per cent in 2020,” according to Varapat Chensavasdijai, the Deputy IMF Division Chief, who led a virtual delegation to the island.
In a statement following the visit, Chensavasdijai said that a sustained recovery in tourism and construction activity is expected to underpin real output growth of seven per cent this year.
“Two-thirds of the population have been fully vaccinated, which is among the highest rates in the Caribbean. However, a prolonged pandemic, due to the emergence of new virus variants, and supply chain disruptions could put a drag on the recovery at the same time as wage and price pressures build.”
The IMF official said that the Gaston Browne government is determined to meet the targets under its medium-term fiscal strategy to bring public debt-to-GDP to under 70 per cent by 2030.
“Despite the pandemic, fiscal consolidation resumed in 2021 and the primary deficit narrowed to 1.8 per cent of GDP, from 3.8 percent in 2020, reflecting domestic revenue mobilization, external grants, and the reprioritization of spending.”
Chensavasdijai said the 2022 budget envisages a zero primary balance, with an ambitious capital spending plan financed by higher revenues, grants and borrowing.
“The uncertain revenue outlook underscores the need to streamline tax exemptions, strengthen tax compliance, and fully implement tax and customs administration reforms. It will also be important to assess the costs and benefits of the current energy pricing mechanisms given rising international oil prices.
“Containing spending on wages and transfers and improving public financial management will be essential. In addition, the authorities should prioritize clearing arrears to suppliers and creditors while avoiding the accumulation of new arrears.”
Chensavasdijai said that the financial sector is showing signs of recovery. He said banks are well-capitalized and liquid, but credit growth has been slow, particularly to the household sector.
“Loans under moratoria at banks and credit unions have declined significantly in 2021 and nonperforming loan ratios have remained stable. Nonetheless, supervisors should closely monitor asset quality and ensure that loan loss provisioning is proportional to credit quality risks, especially at credit unions.”
Chensavasdijai said Antigua and Barbuda is highly susceptible to climate change and natural disasters, and continues to face structural challenges related to the high costs of reconstruction from
Hurricane Irma and limited access to affordable home insurance against disasters.
“The National Adaptation Plan to build climate resilience is expected to be completed by year-end.
There are ongoing initiatives to make homes and public infrastructure more disaster-resilient, as well as to invest in renewable energy.
“The Blue Economy Plan identifies new sustainable sectors and opportunities to diversify the economy; capacity building and financing will be necessary to realize the plan’s objectives,” Chensavasdijai added.
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Growth will be a lot more than 7% now that Antiguan businessmen and women can continue to invest in our beautiful country.
# LESS HOSPITALITY AND MORE PRIVATE SECTOR ENTERPRISES …
… more FINANCIAL power to the indigenous populous of Antigua 🇦🇬
The IMF is normally conservative in its approach. If they say 7 per cent expect growth any where around 10%. Country is truly bouncing back. Kudos to all policy makers.
Is this tenman?
I agree with you because the IMF is usually on the conservative side. So your projection is a realistic one. Knowing how our government and policymakers are relentless, it may very well be higher than the 10% you predicted. I’m gunning for 12%.
Growth of GASTON BROWN’S SELF ENRICHMENT SCHEME
Tell the top dawg, don’t release 1 report because it seems favorable to their government. Release all the others they still hiding because they are unfavorable, so we can compare.
Guy they released the consult before this which included 2020 numbers, whch you well know was the worst due to covid. You should be aware of it since you responsed to the associated artcile showing your ignorance (you did not recognize that you were reading their relase)
Growth of GASTON BROWN’S SELF ENRICHMENT SCHEME
When you have 20%+ decline followed by 7% growth its still a dismal decline.
You forget the 5.3% growth in 2021 and the some 30% growth from 2014 -19. Must be because you wish to see the sky falling. Our government has performed.
I guess any glass that is half full is half empty for you.
Congratulations to all the citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, and the Government of these two islands, for a job well done. The Gaston Brown government continues to lead us into ever-increasing prosperity, even in the time of pandemic. This will be remembered by the voters in the next election. Of course there are still short comings and things yet to be accomplished, but we are on the way as workers together. Forward EVER. Backward NEVER! If you have a problem with that, you can always move to Haiti.
IMF predictions are great, but what the average Antiguan wants are improvements in their standard of Living. They want to have a job and be paid a decent salary to provide for themselves and family. They want to be able to acquire a home and minimum wages won’t do it. These numbers are just numbers that the average citizen does not understand or cares nothing about.
Where in Knight? Your deared PM Browne to release the Article 4 report, he did -Now what?
What’s the matter with my comment?
Hacker, he release 1 report because he believe it look favorable to them. Tell him to release the others for the other years he still hiding, so that we can compare.
You are quick to publish what IMF predicts for the economy in 2022. Why don’t you ask the government to allow the IMF to publish there report about A&B since 2016?
Rude boy James…Why you break the chandelier in Pakistan….Good Moniker
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