CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS, MAY 14TH 2014 (CUOPM) – The Nevis Island Administration of Premier the Hon. Vance Amory is reporting that the three-year IMF Standby Arrangement for St. Kitts and Nevis is now reaping benefits for both islands and that the economy is on the road to recovery.
“We see a recovery in the economy in economic growth, primarily driven by construction and the [Citizenship by Investment] CBI receipts that have been able to fund the [People’s Empowerment Programme] PEP as well as some other investments as well as recovery in tourism, especially in Nevis in 2014. The season, we understand, has been very strong. In St. Kitts, a little less so, partly because of the connectivity issues related to the bad weather in the United States,” said International Monetary Fund (IMF) Country Representative for St. Kitts and Nevis Ms. Judith Gold.
Ms. Gold in a Nevis Government Information Service (GIS) release posted on the FaceBook of Nevis’ Deputy Premier, the Hon. Mark A.G. Brantley, also credited the Federal Government for its prudent fiscal management which resulted in the Federal Government providing a 13-month bonus to civil servants in Nevis and St. Kitts with the assistance of the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF).
“The fiscal situation is much improved both because of prudent fiscal management in both St. Kitts and Nevis and because of substantial revenues coming from the CBI and [Sugar Industry Diversification Fund] SIDF. As a result, the Government was able to provide the 13-month bonus in 2013 and proceed with the wage increases in 2014 and plan over the coming years,” she said in the GIS press release on Mr. Brantley’s Facebook.
The Nevis GIS said Ms. Gold, spoke to the Department after a meeting with Premier Amory and Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Colin Dore at the Ministry’s conference room.
It said Ms. Gold who led a five-member team from the IMF and two representatives from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) in Basseterre that concluded the ninth and final review under the three-year-old Stand-By Arrangement with St. Kitts and Nevis which will expire on July 26, 2014, noted that the recovery was driven primarily by construction.
“I would say there has been much progress under the arrangement in the last three years and we are very pleased to see that the country, we think, has really turned and things are improving and we hope they continue to improve over the coming months,” said the IMF official.
The Nevis GIS reported that Ms. Gold also commented on the Capital Expenditure in St. Kitts and Nevis and offered advice.
“The Capital Expenditure is now improving more in St. Kitts than in Nevis at this point, but this is a work in progress. The external situation has also improved and overall we see positive signs. I think going forward, our emphasis is to ensure prudent management over the coming years to take the additional revenues and use them carefully, to make sure that the situation would be sustainable into the medium term,” Ms. Gold told the Nevis GIS.
The Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF is a fiscal reform programme which the Federal government entered into in 2009/2010 to reorganise its finances and to put St. Kitts and Nevis on a path for sustainability. Included in that programme were measures to reduce the high level of indebtedness. The main component of which was the Land for Debt Swap for which the Crown lands would be sold to pay debts, to which the Federal Government and the NIA have both agreed to.