Two regional economists are confident that barring some difficulties with debt restructuring and management, Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of the region should be able to recover from the financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
Jeremy Stephen, an economist out of Barbados, believes this could be achieved within two to three years.
“The recovery that we are expecting globally will be highly dependent on two factors. That is increased productivity, any semblance of growth that I expect in the next few years, even when we reform and hope we can attract that investment to do that reformation shouldn’t be anticipated until two or three years down the line.
“I seriously don’t believe with a lot of the final issues that we’ve got and infrastructural issues pertaining to logistics — transportation, debt management, public sector reform, over-dependency on foreign exchange, over-dependency on external energy — I don’t think it fixes itself in the short term,” Stephen argued.
Dennis Chung, from Jamaica, said economic activity is slowly returning with the re-opening of more borders to international travel.
He added that people within the region will find a way to be creative in this new normal era. He called for stakeholders to meet and put together a plan moving forward.
Meanwhile, speaking specifically to Antigua and Barbuda, Minister of State within the Ministry of Finance, Lennox Weston, stated that government officials have treaded carefulyl with the handling of certain situations by targeting relief to families that are in need and keeping the public sector workers employed.
He said, all things equal, the twin island nation could gradually return to some sort of normalcy within a 12-month period.