Retired professional banker Everett Christian is disagreeing with Finance Minister Gaston Browne’s declaration that the Nation has every reason to be optimistic about the future.
Browne made the statement in Parliament on March 2, as he presented the Appropriations Bill, 2023, and boasted of the strides his administration allegedly has made in rebuilding the economy.
However, Christian says that certain figures quoted by Browne, who is also minister of finance, do not match up.
For example, Christian refers to the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the growth rate of which, Browne says, was estimated by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) at 8.5 per cent, whereas the Statistics Department estimates a rate of inflation of 9.2 per cent.
Based on these two percentages and the fact that, for real growth to be measured, inflation has to be factored, Christian asserts that real GDP actually declined.
The former banker says this is borne out by the reality that persons are experiencing – that is, the hardship in their pockets and not growth, as the prime minister alleges.
Further, Christian notes that Thursday’s Budget Presentation focused on nominal growth and not real growth. And he explains that a country’s economy could expand without a government doing anything in a period where there is high inflation.
While other countries are also experiencing inflation, the former banker adds, unlike Antigua and Barbuda, they are not boasting about the nominal growth in GDP.
PM Browne says the rate of growth of the global economy will decline by a further 2.9 percent, while economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to decline by 1.8 per cent in 2023 – a fall from 3.9 per cent last year.