By Kadeem Joseph
Antigua and Barbuda will see “a gradual return to normality over the next 12 months”. That is the projection of Minister of State within the Ministry of Finance, Lennox Weston.
Weston, who gave his outlook for the nation’s economy during Observer’s Big Issues programme on Sunday, said until then the government will be keeping things “extremely tight”.
“We are going to watch every penny we spend; it must be in productive investments,” he added. “We are going to ask our population to continue to draw on their savings if they have…”
Weston, who is also the minister of public works, called on residents to creatively come up with small business ideas and take advantage of the assistance government provides to this end.
“We are quite optimistic going forward that we can hold it together until we can get past this pandemic,” he continued.
The minister said, however, that there are “powerful lessons” to be learned from the impact that the coronavirus has had on Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of the region.
He is advising that some of the investment capital the region has goes towards the development of the countries therein, rather than “packing all of it in Wall Street”.
Weston is also advising more sustainable management of money that has been borrowed to ensure it is invested in such a way that “it pays for itself”.
The minister also believes that the people of the region are the only fundamental resource that will help the region out of its fiscal challenges.
“We must educate them, we must train them and we must require from them productive investments and work that will take the economy forward,” he added.