GOVERNMENT COMMITS TO ENHANCE THE EASE OF DOING BUSINESS IN ST. KITTS AND NEVIS

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 27, 2016 (SKNIS): As the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is ranked 134 for 2017 in comparison to other countries in the Latin American and Caribbean Region by the World Bank for ease of doing business, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, said that “the ease and the improvements which we envisage in the Ease of Doing Business Report will not come overnight.”

Responding to a question during his monthly press conference on Wednesday (October 26), Prime Minister Harris stated that with respect to the ease of doing business in St. Kitts and Nevis there are certain structural issues, some of legislative and some of a different nature that will be addressed overtime.

“And therefore, we anticipate that as we move for example, to set up a genuine one stop centre, that will lead to significant improvements in the ease of doing business,” said Prime Minister Harris. “But that will require collaboration across departments and the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) platforms [to name a few] and those are a work in progress. Part of that envisages that when you go for example, to Social Security to register and to Inland Revenue, there is some commonality that persons wouldn’t have to go to a multiplicity of interrelated public sector agencies to have their documentation processed.”

Prime Minister Harris said that based on the Ease of Doing Business report, St. Kitts and Nevis is doing well in several areas such as customs and in the speed with which electricity is being delivered to persons.

“So there are several commendable features with respect to St. Kitts and Nevis where we may be leading the Caribbean, and so on those areas we also need to highlight the positives of the report,” he said. “Those areas in which action is needed, we are committed to them. The Ministry of International Trade has been charged with doing much of the follow through in relation to this matter.”

He spoke to one of the areas in which the Federation recorded a bad score, namely the closure of business, stating that it takes a very long period of time for business in liquidation to be resolved. Prime Minister Harris used the Bank of Commerce as a prime example where action was taken some 30 plus years after its closure for persons to reclaim funds.

“It is matters like that that we need to make the necessary legislative enhancement to help enhance our score in relation to the ease of doing business,” said Dr. Harris. “So there are composite indicators, and what we attempted to, and those in which we have a below average performance to prioritize those fractions and they call for institutional coordination and action.”

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