BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, October 21,2019 (SKNIS)
Revised GDP numbers indicate that the Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris-led Team Unity administration of St. Kitts and Nevis actually attained the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union’s (ECCU’s) target benchmark of 60 percent debt-to-GDP ratio in March 2016 – way earlier than the December 2018 date that was previously reported.
This means that St. Kitts and Nevis, which is the first independent state in the ECCU to reach this important benchmark, achieved this milestone 14 years ahead of the eight-member ECCU target date of 2030.Acting Prime Minister, the Honourable Shawn Richards made the announcement while delivering remarks at the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry & Commerce’s Annual Private Sector Banquet at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort on Saturday, October 19.
It was there that the Honourable Minister noted that as at June 2019, St. Kitts and Nevis’ debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 55.5 percent, according to data from the Ministry of Finance.“Remarkably, this is a 35 percent improvement over June 2014 when our debt-to-GDP ratio was 85 percent,” Acting Prime Minister Richards said.He added that shortly after taking office, the Team Unity administration “promptly paid off the $117 million debt that was owed to the IMF [International Monetary Fund], which the former administration left the people of this country.”
Under the past administration, the total public debt ballooned to an estimated US$1.05 billion or about 200 percent of GDP.“Indeed, we paid down our debt so that our people wouldn’t have to suffer anymore and that they would have a chance to progress rather than being relegated to a backward state. As a result, fewer people are feeling squeezed, and our $500 a month Poverty Alleviation programme also provides a buffer,” the Acting Prime Minister said.
This outstanding management of the country’s resources by the Team Unity Government was lauded by IMF officials when they met with Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris over the weekend.Prime Minister Harris was at the time leading a St. Kitts and Nevis delegation to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank 2019 Annual Meetings in Washington, DC.