UPP Chair unimpressed by ‘unorthodox’ approach to Budget 2023 and finds widening of taxable goods ‘unconscionable’

Chairperson of the United Progressive Party (UPP) D. Gisele Isaac says she was not impressed by the Browne Administration’s $1.8 billion budget for 2023.

Speaking on Twin Island Media’s Wake Up Call on Wednesday, March 15, Isaac described Finance Minister Gaston Browne’s overall budget presentation as “unorthodox,” since he chose not to detail his government’s programmes and projects for this year, leaving that responsibility up to his ministers.

Further, she says, instead of leading the debate, most of the ministers then chose to follow the Opposition members.

In his budget delivery to the Parliament two weeks ago, Prime Minister Browne noted that his Administration would be widening the net of items that attract the Antigua & Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST).

This, according to Browne, is one measure that is expected to boost the government’s revenue-collection streams.

However, the UPP Chairperson sees any new tax increase at this time as “unconscionable,” given the increases in Social Security deductions, the drastic spike in the cost of food, and the fact that public-sector workers are still waiting for a pay increase and back pay.