COVID-19 putting Antigua’s economy under serious pressure

As the novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc around the world, the economy of Antigua and Barbuda is definitely feeling the pressure.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that although there are difficulties, the government will do all it can to ensure that payments are met.

“July would have been a stronger revenue month than August, but not significantly lower,” he said. “We are still in a position to cover wages and salaries.”

“I believe salaries and wages have been paid. Obviously, Social Security continues to struggle to pay pensions and pensions obviously will be delayed, but will be paid,” Browne continued, promising that his administration is doing its best to keep persons employed.

“We are still in a position to cover wages and salaries.”

— Browne

The Customs Department is reported to have seen EC$3 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) in revenue last month.

Despite the issues, help is coming, as the Chief of Staff Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst revealed that the government has received a EC$14 million loan from an unnamed “foreign entity.

“It’s a private operation, and they’re prepared to loan us some money in advance of payments which we would normally make,” he said. “It hasn’t gone through as yet, it’s not complete although we signed all the papers that are required.

“The Prime Minister signed them on Friday. We anticipate that it will happen one day this week. We are talking about EC$6 million dollars to be delivered between now and the middle of September, and then an additional EC$8 million dollars to be delivered before the end of December.”

Hurst said the government is “finding some creative ways” to meet “the obligations to our friends from China”, with the China Exim Bank is funding the development at the cargo port here.