Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 07, 2016 (SKNIS): The Private Sector is considered to be an engine of growth to the economy and as such, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has made a clarion call for the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC) and the business community at large to seriously consider the role of the Private Sector accelerating growth and building a resilient St. Kitts and Nevis.

Prime Minister Harris made the statement during his presentation of the 2017 Budget Address on Wednesday, December 07, stating that the “government has worked diligently over the years to provide reliable basic infrastructure, a robust legal regulatory framework, and a diverse mix of policies, tax and other incentives to create a sufficiently healthy environment for business to develop and flourish.”

“With these significant efforts by the Government, the Private Sector will of course do more to drive growth, lead in generating employment and in the generation and distribution of wealth and lead in transforming the economy,” said Dr. Harris. “For us to accelerate growth in the national economy, we have to make a number of changes to the status quo. Maintaining the status quo as we know it today is not an acceptable option. No longer can we settle for an economy built on wholesale and retail trades or replace sugar production with the narrow traditional form of tourism.”

Dr. Harris urged the business community to rise up to the challenge to mobilize the resources necessary to invest in the key sectors such as non-traditional services, agriculture, manufacturing, renewable energy, and Information Communication Technology (ICT).

“Opportunities are knocking for people to invest in areas that hold the promise of good business returns and wider economic impacts,” he said. “More specifically, the areas that are ripe for investments include medical and wellness services, organized farming and agro processing and manufacturing of high end products to target niche markets and various technology based services.

Prime Minister Harris encouraged persons to think of the possibilities of an established business or a group of nationals coming together to form a small and medium sized business capable of mobilizing resources to provide medical services that are in high demand by residents and visitors, or services in tourism or agriculture to name a few.

He spoke to the many ideas that were discussed during the National Consultation on the Economy in October of this year and noted that the time has now come to move to the planning and implementation stages.

“This is where the rubber meets the road and signals our best chance to contribute to the common goals of accelerating growth and building resilience for current and future citizens for St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Dr. Harris, while adding that it is time for businesses and individuals to be innovative and mobilize to capitalize on emerging economic activities. “I look forward to planning and implementing the National Growth Forum with our partners in the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the wider private sector.”