The Gaston Browne Administration will be saddling the people of Antigua and Barbuda with a loan whose interest payment will amount to almost half the sum borrowed, says HaroldLovell, Political Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP).
In the 2022 Budget Presentation last week, Finance Minister Browne announced that his government is seeking to borrow U$200million at a rate of 4.5 percent over a period of 10 years.
Reportedly, the funds are to close this year’s financing gap and to stimulate economic activity. However, Lovell says the Government needs to get its act together, spend more wisely, and stop saddling the people with debt.
In spite of bragging and boasting about having more money to spend than previous administrations, the Browne regime continues to increase the country’s debt burden through reckless borrowings, Lovell charges.
Lovell served a term as Finance Minister in the Spencer Administration and during the World Economic Crisis that hit this country in 2008.
He continues to be criticized by Browne for taking out an IMF loan of U$ 101 million, with an interest rate of 1.2 percent. However, Lovell points out that the interest on this loan amounted to US$8 million or EC$20 million over five years – which is far less than the EC$240 million to be paid over the life of Browne’s US$200 million loan.
Further, responding to figures that Browne quoted during his Budget Presentation, Lovell says the Prime Minister and his colleagues need to stop spreading false information about the UPP Administration.