Real News Antigua: Retired university lecturer Dr. George Daniel is disproving boasts by Prime Minister Gaston Browne that Antigua and Barbuda’s economy is far better than any other in the region, except Guyana’s, with its newly found oil wealth.
Browne has been making this declaration for the past two years, with his most recent pronouncement being on Friday, December 15, as he presented the 2024 national budget.
However, Dr. Daniel says that, having reviewed the 2022 budget, the conclusion he has drawn is that Antigua and Barbuda does not have a revenue problem; rather, it suffers from a management problem.
Looking at the economy of St. Kitts & Nevis, Dr. Daniel notes that the recurrent expenditure for that small Federation – the population of which is half of Antigua and Barbuda’s – is actually greater than this country’s.
In short, he says the Federation spends more, per capita, on providing goods, services, and salaries to its people than the Government of Antigua and Barbuda does. And, he adds, theeconomy of St. Kitts & Nevis allows that government to fund itself to an extent that is greater than that of Antigua and Barbuda.
Given these realities, Daniel rubbishes PM Browne’s talk about this country being an economic powerhouse, since, he says, St. Kitts & Nevis has surpassed us.
Meanwhile, Dr. Daniel says that, in 2014, the Browne Administration came into office with what he deems a “gold mine” – the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) it inherited from the Baldwin Spencer Administration.
Based on the excess revenue that was generated from the CIP, he says, the Labour Party Government was able to operate with a current account surplus to pay for regular expenditure.
According to the retired university lecturer, there was more money collected than was spent. But by 2018, Dr. Daniel says, the Government was into a current account deficit.
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