Today the Cabinet of the Nevis Island Administration led by Premier the Honourable Vance Amory met in St. Kitts with the Cabinet of the Federal Government led by Prime Minister Honourable Dr Denzil Douglas for purposes of receiving from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) its report having undertaken its Article IV assessment of the economic situation in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The IMF reported an overall strengthening of the fiscal position in St. Kitts and Nevis largely due to increasing income flows into the Treasury from the Citizenship by Investment Programme. While tax revenues were and continue to be stagnant, income from the Citizenship by Investment Programme provided a cushion for the St. Kitts Nevis Government’s financial position.
The IMF however cautioned that the Citizenship by Investment programme was subject to potential risks and therefore overall strengthening of the tax collection was necessary.
Overall debt has been reduced due to the debt restructuring exercise undertaken and the debt to GDP position now stands at 105% of GDP. Whilst that is much lower than it has hitherto been, it is still 25% above the rest of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and well about the recommended level of 60%. The IMF was clear that more sustained effort was necessary.
The prediction is that St. Kitts and Nevis should lead the ECCU in terms of economic growth for 2014 albeit it will continue to lag behind the rest of the wider Caribbean region.
Prime Minister Douglas commended his financial team for the work thus far and committed to working with the NIA to ensure that improvements extend to the whole of the country.
Premier Amory also used the opportunity to raise issues of capital projects for Nevis and confirmed the need for the private sector to shoulder more of the responsibility in terms of investment. He also raised the issue of the Citizenship by Investment programme and its use to attract foreign direct investment to Nevis.