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An aerial view of St John's, the capital of Antigua and Barbuda. (Photo: Port Shopping Spree)

Public sector salaries will be paid on time, says Antigua Gov’t

An aerial view of St John's, the capital of Antigua and Barbuda. (Photo: Port Shopping Spree)

Prime Minister Gaston Browne says public servants will be paid their salaries for June on time even as his administration grapples with the loss of income as a result of the lockdown of the local economy due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne

A statement by Cabinet last week noted that revenues continue to fall way below expenditures, but that it has agreed that all will be done to ensure that salaries, wages, pensions and emoluments are paid on time at each pay period.

It said the closure of the country’s borders on March 26, “essentially triggered a significant reduction in economic activity and employment, both of which will remain challenging until such time as the economy is fully opened-up.

“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.”

– Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne

“All government employees and pensioners have been paid their salaries, wages and pensions on-time at the end of March, April and May 2020. There is uncertainty about June 30. COVID-19, the Cabinet agreed, will continue to be a threat to Antigua and Barbuda’s well-being for many months ahead,” the statement noted.

However, Browne, speaking on his radio programme over the weekend, told listeners that the government’s revenue “remains in a very precarious position… (but) I would not say that there is a continued reduction, the situation is not significantly better…”

He indicated the government would most likely continue to see a reduction in revenue from the social security and possibly medical benefits.

“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. In so far as central government is concerned I am confident that we will pay on time so all occupational pensions and certainly all salaries and wages for public servants will be paid by the end of June”.

Browne said that his administration ”has made certain provisions already to ensure that they are paid on time and that no one should feel that they are not going to be paid at the end of the month”.