Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 19, 2016 (SKNIS): Growth is significantly important to any economy, and Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, noted during his monthly press conference on Tuesday, January 19, that “a growing economy should provide more jobs.”
He noted that a growing economy is one that should provide avenues for greater things.
“A growing economy is what it takes to provide greater revenues for the government to build the Basseterre High School, to establish an Oncology Unit for the treatment of cancer patients, to renovate the Mary Charles Hospital as we are about to do, to pay increments to civil servants and wage increases of 3 percent for an overall 5 percent burden on the payroll of the Government in 2016,” said the finance minister. “It is this growth in the economy that will help us to renovate the former John Gumbs Building and the Treasury Building, and of course without these additional revenues we will be handicapped as far as our expectation to provide more medication for our hospitals and dispensaries. In other words, economic growth in a well-managed economy must trickle down to the better quality of life for all.”
Prime Minister Harris made mention of the 6.6 percent growth that the economy recorded in 2015, adding that it accounted for 24,677 jobs from the period January to October of the said year compared to 24, 560 in 2014.
“That growth facilitated an average of $72.32 million in wages and salaries being pumped into the economy each month up by a significant 7% over $67.50 million per month on average over the comparative period in 2014,” he said, while noting that the total wages and salaries went up 6 percent in public administration and defense, 14 percent in the hotel and restaurant sector. The wholesale and retail sector increased by 6 percent while the construction industry was outstanding with 14 percent increase in total wage payments. He added that financial intermediation declined marginally at 2 percent.
Dr. Harris said it is important to note that the Federation is off to a good start in realizing the enhanced quality of life for all and stated that prosperity for all is a work in progress.