Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis Dr Timothy Harris said his Team Unity Administration has shifted its attention to returning the country to its pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) economic position as the vaccination against the virus continues.
The prime minister, while expressing optimism on the Tuesday, March 2 edition of Leadership Matters, noted that the prolonged impact of the pandemic will continue throughout 2021, affecting countries at varying levels
“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,” Dr Harris stated.
He further indicated that his Administration has implemented a fiscal strategy for the medium term (2021 – 2023), which, among other things, aims to stimulate economic recovery by adopting a pro-growth approach to the development and execution of the capital budget for 2021 and beyond.
“We expect that the key sectors that would drive our economic recovery would include construction, manufacturing, agriculture, ICT (information and communication technology), and services including tourism,” Prime Minister Harris pointed out.
He added: “Notably, construction activity, which generally contributes about 16 per cent to GDP (gross domestic product), 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 centres around the island — is also expected to contribute to the projected growth in 2021.”
Dr Harris also assured that 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.
“We expect that the key sectors that would drive our economic recovery would include construction, manufacturing, agriculture, ICT …and services including tourism”— Dr Timothy Harris, prime minister, St Kitts and Nevis
“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 [EC]$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,” the prime minister explained.
At the same time, he capitalised on the opportunity during the broadcast of 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”.