IMF urges Antigua to increase its tax base


CMC- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Antigua and Barbuda should increase its tax earning, which at 16% of revenue, is just one percentage point below what the IMF says is needed to support the country’s developmental needs.

St. John’s, which does not tax incomes, is said to have the lowest tax-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

“What does 16% tell us? It tells us that the tax to GDP is right at the margin, below which we would think that it is insufficient to support the country’s priorities,” IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, said at news conference.

She fielded questions from journalists attending an IMF-sponsored training programme on economic and financial reporting, conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Georgieva said that the IMF takes 15% tax-to-GDP ratio as the threshold below which the tax base is just not enough for the country to function.

“With 16% It’s above this threshold, but barely,” she noted, adding that that leads to three conclusions. 

The first is that there has to be very strong investment in making sure that tax loopholes do not exist, and that this tax translates into revenues in a predictable manner.

“For this usually relying on digital — being able to trace every source of tax revenues and then monitor proper implementation of the tax system is absolutely paramount.”

Kristalina Georgieva
Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, speaking to journalists in Chile. (CMC photo)

The IMF head said it is also important that the country consider whether the taxes collected are enough or whether it should do more.

“And if it decides that it should do more, in what manner that could be done?”  Georgieva said, noting that the different sources of tax revenue include taxes on profit, income, property and inheritance.

“And it is important to look at these different ways in which tax revenues can be increased, and decide what would be most appropriate for the context of small, relatively small economy.”

Georgieva said the third issue that Antigua and Barbuda needs to look into is whether there are ways in which the economy may speed up economic growth.

She noted that the economy grew by 5.9% in 2023, with growth for 2024 projected at 6.1%, trimming down to 4% in 2025.

“So you have a relatively good performance. And the question is, could there be more to be done on the basis of this performance to increase revenues?”  Georgieva said.

“You can broaden the sales tax — one possibility. You can introduce tax on alcohol or tobacco on things that are not good for your health. And you can say, ‘Well, we actually want to have a good custom system, and on that basis, collect more revenues.

“My answer would be, you’re barely there with 16%. Maybe you want to think of increasing your tax base. And certainly, since you’re just barely there, please collect every penny of taxes that are due.”

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  1. Ma’am, with all due respect, you mentioned nothing about this government actually collecting the millions that remain uncollected because the financial dunce,”doesn’t want to upset the apple cart. “You mentioned nothing about this government collecting an average of 800 million annually, more than any other government in the history of Antigua and Barbuda. Are you aware that this government, because of their inability to attract viable investors, have bloated the public sector to record highs?
    Sorry lady, Antigua and Barbuda cannot bear any more taxes no matter your expert financial assessments. We are already up to our eyeballs in debt, cost of living is off the charts and the 14% some got is as if it wasn’t.

    • @Watching, why make up facts? In 2013 (IMF article IV for 2014) government revenue (673 million) was 18.7 percent of GDP(3.6 billion ) but in 2023 including grants it was $971.4 million. How in God’s earth can your argument be true of an increase of 800 million in revenue, more than prior governments, unless you want to believe that when UPP left office they were only collecting less than 200 million yearly?

      • @tenman the clown. You should be ashamed to mention the article iv report as your corrupt government has not allowed another one for 10 years to be published. So you figures you are stating are what your scoundrel massa spits from his liard mouth. Frauds you all are.

  2. THE PHILOSOPHY OF GASTON BROWNE. Borrowing Antigua and Barbuda out of DEBT. Now,taxing the people of Antigua and Barbuda to DEATH.THE END!!

  3. but the majority of Antiguans, compared to the USA, exist on minimum wage.

  4. Ma’am, we do not need to put more taxes on the people. The Prime Minister just needs to bring back into the economy the money earned from the CIP that is out there wherever he put it, and to collect the taxes from his pals and cronies who he says he does not have the heart to ask them for it.

    If these do not happen, then you are practically telling him to kill the common people with taxes to build the economy. Bearing in mind that we do not sell anything to anybody to help the situation, these taxes you are suggesting will be hard on us.

    I am suggesting that you step back from all the data you are being fed by the Prime Minister and really do some research into how the country is surviving and how hard it is for the ordinary tax payer. Bearing in mind that you are not the only one to get contrived data. Ask ECLAC and Human Development Index, etc. They do not expect him to obfuscate, so they print what is given to them.

    When you all come here, try not to get too carried away with the bright sun and the beaches, etc, and hurrying to finish the work so you could get into your bikinis and soak up sun and drink rum and coke.

    Just do the work. Might be tedious, but many of us are depending on you to get the true picture of the life we all know we live here.

    BTW, does this mean that Antigua and Barbuda is under an IMF structural programme?

    • @Ma’am, you really don’t have a clue, do you? – Moneys (National Development Fund) from the CIP are paid directly into the treasury. You may wish to ask what about the other options but fact is over 90 percent of CIP applicants use the NDF option. The other ones like the real estate, though the fees are paid directly to the CIP unit, there is a 6 monthly report (can be seen on the units website) which brakes down what the funds they receive were used to do

  5. Ah Tinman, you always seem to have the facts and noone else? You always seem to miss the underlying current because of your sole intent to defend this government at all cost.
    I can always count on you for that Tinmam.
    Speak to what is at hand. Can Antigua and Barbuda survive anymore taxes? We’re being taxed out of existence because of the mismanagement of our economy; because of this government’s refusal to collect ALL the taxes. We witnessed piracy in 2023 due to greed and are now paying for the DAWG’S greed.
    Who cares about you trival focus as always?The fact is, we’re in this train to disaster BECAUSE of the government you spin and twist to defend.

    • @Watching.. The same way I got the info, you could have found it, since it available online. Fact is you prefer ignorance since its fruit is what you use for justifying your hatred. Guy another fact is in terms of Human development, A&B was recently rated 54 in the world. In prior assessments we were 71. Again this info is publicly available (one needs only google “Antigua and Barbuda upgraded to 54th in United Nations Human Development Index “). Your issue is not with someone else’s greed but your dislike for the PM and his government


    property management and invest of the taxes collected would have been more than sufficient.

    Borrowing money from locals and paying them the same or a bit lower percentage that the country pays abroad would be sufficient.

    CIP money if management properly would be useful.

    VIP (Voting By Investment) would also be useful. I heard you cannot vote if you are away too long or have not been in the country for a certain amount of periods, even if you are a citizen. So, I am saying, if this is true, allow Citizens to vote from abroad if they can prove minimum contact. Which can be having bank account with certain balance amount, owning a functioning and operating business or owning land/house of a certain value. This too, like CIP, can encourage foreign investments.

    Demanding local hotels to purchase a certain amount of their goods from locals or at minimum offer, once per month, each hotel must have on its premises a local food fair made up of local (mom and pops) cooks and chefs that only serve local foods (chopup and salt fish with bread, fry dumplings, goat water, pepper pot, seasoned rice, dumplings of various kinds, etcetera). This must be done with frequency.

    The government could save money by borrowing from locals for less than what they pay abroad but higher than what the local bank pays locals.

    Also, when selling government lands, politicians and others shouldn’t by them first, for cheap, because they heard an investor is willing to pay premium money for the land from the government, so the politician quickly acquires it for very cheap and sells it for millions. Those are revenue that the government should have gotten, the people of the country.

    Why not try these less burdensome techniques to help locals before we expressed tax increase. I believe no tax or increase in tax is appropriate if less burdensome tools for revenue collection is not first exhausted.

    I get it, there is no one very creative or caring as me. Because this does not require a degree to solve but love and care for your people. If you do, these would be the first tools employee to help locals and the country.

    However, no one locally have the self respect to comprehend they are not loved and they are being used.

  7. Ah@Tinman, we can always expect some spin and twist from you! Always missing the bigger issue while focusing on some trivia.
    I said nothing about INCREASE, Tinman, go back and read my post again. I said “on average ” this failing, corrupt government has collected 800 million annually. Where the hell did you get INCREASE from?
    It is so ironic that the Laborites are now quoting from IMF article IV. The same IMF who UPP borrowed from and was condemned by ALP and the DAWG especially. Did you forget, Tinman, how he said he cussed the lady out and said his government will never do an IMF program? Now the DAWG and his Laborites are returning to their vomit.
    Speak to the issue at hand. Antigua and Barbuda are being taxed out of existence by a dunce mismanaging our economy.

  8. Tell IMF I say to FUCK OFF simple as that when man get hungry people go dead police only come after the fact

  9. @Watching@ if you accept under UPP government revenues were about 700 million, why is it so hard for you to accept some 10 years later, expenses have increased? You are not aware of an increase for public sector workers (about 60 million EC) ? You do know government also purchases goods and services which would have also gone up in cost? Are you unaware that while UPP was in office we had moratoriums (delay on payments) on loans? Some examples would have been the Chinese power plant (46 million usd), the IMf loan (117 million usd), the airport loon. It then means the current government has to find moneys to pay those debts. The current government would have also incurred some debts for the 300 million DPT bond, the 80 million usd UWI loan, the EC$168 Million APUA loan (backed by government), 100 million Airport improvement loan

  10. But yet China continues to grow without Taxing it’s people. IMF goal is to keep people in poverty it seems…..

  11. Nobody wanna hear it, but there are way to many government employees. You could easily
    Cut it in half

  12. tax the large corporations ripping off the local people by paying hardly any tax. Sandals, AUA Etc etc all don’t pay their fair share and export billions out of the country. Make them pay. And they do this partly by paying graft to Browne and his cronies

  13. My God Tinman, don’t you ever get tired. No one gives a damn about your deflections and quoting of whatever your Labourite mine can concoct. Again, I dislike how Antigua and Barbuda is poor, dilapidated and being raped by this government. Apparently, this make you no never mind. Just defend ALP no matter what. Well, there are patriots here still who can simply disregard you.
    You misquoted me as saying that this government had an INCREASE in revenue of 800 million and now that I have called you out for your mistake, you are all over the place, with all kinds of useless information talking ’bout moratoriums, late payments and whatever.
    Pssst. Tinman. Did you hear we damn near lost the port because of failure to pay by this government? Did you hear they raped Transport Board to scratch up the money? Did you hear that our Airport is in the same quandary? Yet Badu was bragging about 13 million in profits from the port for the first quarter. Wheel and come again Tinman, the issue is about the IMF hinting at more taxes when citizens are suffering under enough taxes. Can you PLEASE stick to that issue?

    • @Watching poor and delipidated? Yet under this administration the tourism numbers year after year are record breaking. The GDP growth even the IMF accepts is stellar. HDI numbers has us only second to SKN in the region. Again, you contradict your argument that the issue is not about government revenue being too low when you make allegations regarding moneys have to be garnered from other sources (this is transport boards role). Clearly there was a need to increase ABST due to our low tax to gdp numbers. The latter was lower than under the UPP, who up to their last year in office had an agreement with IMF to among other things, increase the ABST. As for those you label patriots, I will remind you and them of Onion’s song While you try to piss on A&B we will ensure a strong wind pushes it back in your face

  14. Does anyone notice most people (bloggers/commenters here) but for one (me) provide solutions to problems (even though the current government does not listen to my solutions) but others (commenters/bloggers) just curse, argue, fight, defend and promote candidates (nearly all their candidates have no form of advance education) instead of offering ideas and putting focus on recommendations and solutions like I do that truly will help the people?

    You know none of this online platform commenters/bloggers really and truly love the people like I do? I ACTUALLY AND TRULY NOW ACT THEY DO NOT LOVE THE PEOPLE BUT THEIR POLITICAL CANDIDATES AND THEMSELF ONLY. The sad part is, none of them (people in Antigua and Barbuda and elsewhere in the world) do not have the ability to see who truly love them.


    Antiguans are genuinely dunces. I understand you Barbuda

    • My Way.. yes you loved us so much until you could not get a gun license for not meeting the requirement. After that the man you called hero (Benjamin)because your enemy and the island you before labelled home, you now claim is sour

      • @tenman, you are the most lying dude I ever not met. Talking about I do not meet requirements. Literally got temporary approval/permit and applied for the permanent license license in which they say up to this day is still pending and no decision was ever made , they are holding my application without a decision until I come back to the country.

        Why are you so lie dude? What is wrong with you? You have no soul or morals? You know anything you say from that day I consider a lie and cannot rely on anything you say and I will tell the world to never listen to you.

        I anger for the man I looked up too, for not pushing for my application to be decided on the merit and expired so I can operate my business is not the country. Unlike ignorant people like you that think one mam is the country, I know that is not so.

        So please. You lie too much.

  15. @Tenman, with your pay check, do what I may do in a few days for the country.

  16. It is obvious that alot of you read the imf report and dont understand, where in he article it indicates that governments recently borrowed from them, as far as they concern with such a low tax rate of under 16% they may not want to approve a request from Antigua to be enroll in a imf program

    Technically they are saying government need to implement more tax on its people and the government is very careful not to put to much taxes on the people

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