Finance Minister spins employment, savings and economic performance numbers to trick and deceive
St John’s, Antigua, March 14th, 2023 – The 2023 budget statement that “the real and tangible gains and benefits of our economic growth… are readily seen in the increase in employment, the growth in savings in the banks, and the enlarged investment by the private sector”, IS NOT TRUE.
The disclosure that more than 900 employed or self-employed persons were added to the list of registered workers contributing to the Social Security Scheme in 2022 is evidence of increasing employment, is deliberately misleading. WHY?
- Because the statement does not say how many registered SS contributors were removed from the register in 2022;
- Because11,000 social security contributors dropped off the register in 2020 and 2,500 have still not resurfaced.
This is not clear evidence of any increase in customary employment levels. It is confirmation that employment is still struggling behind pre COVID levels
The Budget Statement that an expansion of $145 million in household savings shows “beyond any shred of doubt that greater income flowed to our people”, IS NOT TRUE.
A few privileged business persons enjoying increased profits from the sacrifices of poor people paying significantly higher prices for goods and services, and therefore able to save more, do not represent the suffering people of Antigua and Barbuda.
While a few are doing well, the majority are catching hell. IT IS NOT TRUE that “a large number of households were sufficiently aided by government’s policies that empowered them to save”.
Wages and salaries have not increased but the cost of goods and services needed for the survival of the majority of Antiguans and Barbudans have risen astronomically. Where would they find the money to save?
The Budget Statement reveals that the total value of goods and services (GDP) in Antigua and Barbuda increased by 8.5% in 2022. Inflation – the general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money – is reported as 9.2% in 2022.
If a country is buying goods and services at increased prices, then the value of those goods and services (GDP) will increase. When the people have to pay the increased prices with incomes that remain the same, their purchasing power is reduced. Then the struggle to make ends meet will be real. Things will be rough. Common sense 1-0-1.
So, while the Ministers of government go to Parliament and spin around these GDP growth and inflation numbers to make a case of how great they are, the people have it hard. They are suffering really bad.
Inflation is 9.2 percent but food price increases across the board in recent years have tripled the inflation rate.
The story of the increasing struggle to put food on the tables of families across this country is on the supermarket shelves.
|ITEM||SP 2020||SP 2023||Increase||%|
|Purity Flour 1kg||5.15||5.45||$ 0.30||6%|
|Rice 1kg||3.15||4.25||$ 1.10||35%|
|Sugar 1kg||3.19||4.15||$ 0.96||30%|
|Elbow Pasta||2.15||3.55||$ 1.40||65%|
|Sardine 5.5oz||2.49||3.39||$ 0.90||36%|
|Grace Corned Beef||6.35||8.66||$ 2.31||36%|
|Libbys Vienna Sausage 4.6oz||2.79||3.99||$ 1.20||43%|
|Sunshine Corn Flakes 340g||6.99||7.99||$ 1.00||14%|
|Corn Meal Fine 12oz||3.35||4.45||$ 1.10||33%|
|Corn Meal Fine 24oz||5.65||8.45||$ 2.80||50%|
|Orchard Orange Juice ltr||5.92||6.2||$ 0.28||5%|
|Salted Pollock 12oz||10.95||14.25||$ 3.30||30%|
|Chicken Wings per pound||4.39||5.15||$ 0.76||17%|
|Chicken Backs per pound||2.79||3.15||$ 0.36||13%|
|Turkey Drums per pound||7.95||8.95||$ 1.00||13%|
|Lentils 1lb||5.49||6.99||$ 1.50||27%|
|Corn on Cob each||4.98||5.83||$ 0.85||17%|
|Apples per pound||7.5||9.5||$ 2.00||27%|
|Apples each||1.09||1.5||$ 0.41||38%|
|White Potatoes||2.95||4.95||$ 2.00||68%|
|Bread Plait||3.19||3.95||$ 0.76||24%|
|Milk Dutch Lady 1lt||4.17||5.45||$ 1.28||31%|
|Protex Soap 113g||2.79||3.39||$ 0.60||22%|