St. John’s Antigua- The country’s economy has made positive strides, finance officials disclosed in their inaugural quarterly press conference yesterday.
A report by the Ministry of Finance indicated that the country’s total recurrent revenue has increased by $13.1 million, as compared to the same period last year. The increase is largely owing to a $14 million influx from stamps and duties mainly from land transfers.
The overall fiscal performance shows a deficit of $970,000 compared to a deficit of $16.6 million for the same period last year.
Recurrent expenditures, the report said, decreased from $167.7 million to $163.3 million – a $4.3 million decrease.
Meanwhile, at the end of March 31 2011, the total debt, including central government and government guaranteed debt was $2.7 billion following government’s restructure with external creditors.
“We want to bring this to a point where we involve the people of Antigua & Barbuda … in a conversation about what’s really happening with regard to the budget cycle and what’s happening with regard to how government is utilizing its resources,” Lovell said, as he outlined the country’s fiscal picture.
The minister added that the Quarterly Fiscal Report will continue under his administration.
Presenting his take on the macro economic outlook also was Chairman of Antigua & Barbuda Investment Authority Dr McChesney Emanuel, who outlined ABIA’s three-phase economic stimulus and growth plan led by the authority and supported by the Ministry of Finance.
The chairman indicated that strides have been made in the implementation of the Construct Antigua & Barbuda initiative and the establishment of medical facilities.
He noted that new outsourcing programmes are also in the pipeline, including wellness and health facilities and an Outsource Antigua & Barbuda programme that seeks to bring in overseas money by creating opportunities on island.
The conference was moderated by Gail Imhoff-Gordon and Permanent Secretary Finance Sean Cenac rounded out the head table.
Budget Director Carolyn Charles-Tonge, Accountant General Dr Cleopatra Gittens, Comptroller of Customs Raju Boddu and Deputy Financial Secretary John Edwards also attended the conference.