Data from the Inland Revenue Department show that the total number of business licences issued during the first four years of Prime Minister Harris’ Team Unity administration (2015 – 2018) is approximately 40 percent more than the number that was issued during the last four years (2011 to 2014) of the previous administration.
Between 2011 and 2014, one thousand, two hundred and eighty-four (1,284) business licences were issued compared with one thousand, seven hundred and ninety-five (1,795) between 2015 and 2018.
For the period under consideration (2011 – 2018), the number of newly registered businesses classified as “retail shops and stores (except liquor)” peaked in 2018 at 65 compared with 30 in 2011. That’s a whopping 116.67 percent increase in 2018 over 2011.
Net business formation has been at its highest level under Team Unity. Since the year 2015, new business licences issued have exceeded the 400 mark annually for the first time in history. In 2016, the number of business licences issued peaked at 490, the best record to date. That’s a remarkable increase of 101.65 percent in 2016 over the year 2011 when 243 new business licences were issued.
“Retail shops and stores (except liquor)” was the number one activity for new businesses during the period under consideration (2011 – 2018), except for in 2016 when the business activity classified as “taxi operator” was number one.
In November 2015, it was announced that the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) and the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would lead to the construction of a second cruise pier at Port Zante, enabling the Federation to accommodate even more of the world’s largest cruise ships.
In 2018, “taxi operator” held firm in the top three categories of newly registered businesses behind “retail shops and stores (except liquor)” and “snackette,” a sign that local taxi operators continue to share in the fruits of growth. They and many others have benefited from a 77 percent increase in total cruise passenger spend in 2017/2018 (US $133.02 million) over 2014/2015 (US $75.30 million). Source: 2018 Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) Report.
Last year, the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) designated our country as a marquee destination, and just last month the largest cruise ship in the world – Symphony of the Seas – visited the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, introducing its passengers to the smallest independent country in the Western Hemisphere.