Civil servants can expect June salaries on time

Gaston Browne, PM of Antigua and Barbuda
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By Latrishka Thomas

Contrary to a statement made in last week’s Cabinet notes, salaries and wages for public servants will be paid on time, the Prime Minister has pledged.

Since the 24-hour lockdown went into effect in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses were forced to halt operations severely impacting tax contributions.

Despite the drop in revenue, government has been making efforts to pay its thousands of civil servants.

However, minutes from last Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting released to media stated that there was “uncertainty about June 30” payments.

According to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, that is not the case.

“So far as the central government is concerned, I am confident that we will pay on time, so certainly all occupation pensions and certainly all salaries and wages for public servants will be paid by the end of June and that is because we have made certain provisions already to ensure that you are paid on time,” he clarified.

In fact, he iterated that the government would do “whatever is necessary” to ensure it is able to do so.

Browne also clarified that there has not been a continuous drop in revenue except for some statutory bodies.

“Government’s revenue remains in a very precarious position because of the reduction. I won’t say that there is a continued reduction. The situation is not significantly better but there’s not a reduction in revenue as outlined in that report.

“Where I think we have seen a reduction in revenue is for Social Security and maybe possibly Medical Benefits and Education Levy so you will find, for example, that Social Security pensions are likely to be late again this month because of the reduction in revenue that they would have seen,” the Finance Minister explained.

The country closed its  borders on March 26 triggering a significant reduction in economic activity which only recently started to shift after the re-opening of businesses along with borders to tourists.

All government employees and pensioners are said to have been paid their salaries and pensions on time for the months of March, April and May.

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