IMF: Antigua and Barbuda Economic Recovery to Continue in 2013
Above: Antigua (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Antigua and Barbuda’s real GDP grew by 1.6 percent in 2012, buoyed by a recovery in tourism and construction, and the country’s recovery will continue in 2013, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The fund recently concluded a 10-day visit to the country for two reviews of the programme under the Stand-By Arrangement approved by its executive board in 2010.
“The authorities have made significant progress towards meeting the goals of their fiscal consolidation program, to restore debt sustainability and lay the foundations for sustainable growth, despite a challenging international economic environment and domestic financial sector problems,” said Geoffrey Bannister, who led the IMF mission.
Since 2009, the government has lowered the country’s debt-to-GDP ration from 102 percent to 89 percent last year, “in spite of large economic contraction during this period.”
Despite the “notable progress” on structural reforms, the fund said there had been some delays, and that a number of benchmarks remain to be completed in the next three months, particularly revenue administration.
The fund also said that Antigua would soon present stand-alone legislation on the Financial Services Regulatory Commission to Parliament by mid-May.
“The authorities continue to demonstrate strong commitment to the policies and objectives of their Fiscal Consolidation Program, and recognize the importance of strong macroeconomic, financial and structural policies in achieving the goals of their National Economic and Social Transformation plan,” Bannister said.