BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, March 04, 2021 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – As the vaccination of citizens and residents against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues across St. Kitts and Nevis, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said his Team Unity administration is now shifting its attention to returning the Federation to its strong pre-COVID-19 economic position.
Prior to the arrival of the first two cases of the virus into the Federation, St. Kitts and Nevis stood as an example of a well-managed small island state.
Prime Minister Harris, while speaking on the Tuesday, March 02 edition of Leadership Matters, said that the prolonged impact of the pandemic will continue throughout 2021, affecting countries at varying levels, but noted that there is reason for optimism.
“For St. Kitts and Nevis, despite the estimated deep contraction in economic activity in 2020, the economic outlook is forecast to be modest with an estimated growth of 5.5 percent in 2021 and 5.0 percent in 2022,” said Dr. Harris.
The honourable prime minister indicated that his administration has implemented a fiscal strategy for the medium term (2021 – 2023) where one of the objectives is to facilitate recovery and reignite the economy by adopting a pro-growth approach to the development and execution of the capital budget for 2021 and beyond.
Prime Minister Harris added, “We expect that the key sectors that would drive our economic recovery would include construction, manufacturing, agriculture, ICT and services including tourism. Notably, construction activity, which generally contributes about 16 percent to GDP, would be positively impacted by ongoing projects such as the resurfacing of the island main road and residential construction. The construction of other major projects including the solar farm, the new Basseterre High School and health centers around the island is also expected to contribute to the projected growth in 2021.”
According to the prime minister, his Team Unity Government is taking every necessary measure to help rebuild the economy by continuing to provide support to various sectors through the provision of tax incentives and other financial and policy-based support.
He said, “Examples of these would include the First Time Homeowners initiative whereby duty-free concessions are provided on materials each year. Up to February 2021, duty free was provided on residential building materials totalling $4.6 million. Tax exemptions on building materials and equipment were also provided for larger non-residential projects. We have the Government Employees Mortgage programme and the Citizens Mortgage Facility all being executed through the Development Bank.”
Prime Minister Harris used his remarks on the popular weekly programme to again urge citizens and residents to take the COVID-19 vaccine as “the vaccination programmes put us further along the path to recovery in St. Kitts and Nevis.”