Jamale Pringle, leader of the Opposition, is anxious to see what the Government will put in place to arrest the unemployment levels in Antigua and Barbuda.
Many have estimated the current unemployment rate as close to 30 percent; however, the Throne Speech made no mention of how this situation would be tackled.
Accordingly, Pringle says he expects to hear something concrete during the delivery of the Budget Presentation next Thursday, March 2.
Meanwhile, the Browne Administration is boasting of a strong recovery in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Reportedly, based on figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the rate of debt to GDP is expected to decline – from about 102 percent in 2020 – and the Government is hoping to see it decrease steadily over the next few years.
Pringle says it is not surprising that the country saw some level of growth coming out of the pandemic, after the country fully reopened its borders. He says, however, that this growth was not felt by the working class, who continue to complain about the rising cost of living.
Many other people are still unemployed as a result of the pandemic, he adds; and, for the past two years, no meaningful measure – except for a $50-food voucher programme – has been put in place.
The Opposition Leader says the private sector ought to have been incentivized, since it should be the driving force of the economy and for the unemployed to be absorbed again.
But, he says, not even the businesses that went under during the pandemic have been offered assistance from this Administration.