BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, November 29, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris-led Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is projected to continue on a path of positive economic growth in 2018. This would mean that for a fourth straight year, from 2015 to 2018, St. Kitts and Nevis’ economy would have registered growth under the Team Unity administration.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, while addressing members of the national media corps during a press conference on Wednesday, November 29, 2017, said this positive growth outlook comes despite the significant public sector damage to the tune of around $150 million from the two major hurricanes in September.
This unprecedented level of consistent growth under the Team Unity Government is in stark contrast to the figures recorded by the former administration during its last term in office. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 economic growth under the Denzil Douglas regime was negative, and for the period 2010-2014 economic growth was recorded at an average of just 1.4 percent.
The Team Unity administration presented surplus budgets in 2015 and 2016 with no new taxes, and according to Prime Minister Harris, his Government is on pace to deliver yet another surplus budget.
“The office of the Financial Secretary, and indeed the Deputy Financial Secretary with responsibility for fiscal affairs, have reported that we continue our trend of surpluses on the following fiscal accounts: the recurrent account, up to the 30th September was doing 40.2 percent better than the budget for 2017; overall balance was up over the budget for 2017, and our primary balance recorded a surplus of some 331 percent relative to the budget. Our projection for economic growth in 2018 is that it will continue to be positive,” the Finance Minister stated.
The Honourable Prime Minister further noted that their projections for 2018 are based on a number of emerging realities, including the commencement of several capital projects that will stimulate economic growth and job creation.
Prime Minister Harris said, “We are witnessing now, and it is projected to continue, significant increases in our cruise arrivals. Indeed, there will be a record number of ships on some of the days in December and that positive story will continue in 2018.”
For the 2017-2018 season, St. Kitts and Nevis is projected to receive a total of 569 cruise ship calls bringing with them over 1.5 million passengers. This represents a record for the twin-island Federation. Furthermore, the 17th of December 2017 is the only day in that month that will not see a cruise ship dock in the Federation’s waters.
Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris also disclosed that the opening of Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour will also have a positive impact on the local economy.
Dr. Harris continued, “The National Housing Corporation’s (NHC) housing programme will be given new pace and life in 2018, which means more housing solutions. We also expect to see expanded activity in our first-time Homeowners’ Assistance Programme. This is a programme by which the Government accords concessions to homeowners – building for the first time – on materials valued up to $400,000. We expect to see the reconstruction work on the Old Road Fisheries Complex started and completed.”
The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis also indicated that the resurfacing of the island Main Road, as well as other public sector capital projects such as the Old Road Bay Development, construction of a new health centre at Tabernacle, and work on the East Line Bus Terminal at Wellington Road will add significant economic value to the local economy.