CHARLESTOWN, Nevis == Private-sector investments will be encouraged to play a larger role in the Nevis economy, while public investments will be scaled down, Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Finance told the Nevis Island Assembly, while presenting his 2019 Draft Budget to Assembly President Hon Farrel Smithen on Dec. 5 at Hamilton House.
“Public investments will be scaled down over the medium-term to allow private sector investors to play a greater role in the growth of its economy, Hon Brantley explained.
“In our 2018 budget, public investments would be scaled down over the medium term to allow for private sector investments to play a greater role in the growth of our economy,” the minister said. “As such, capital expenditure for the period January to October 2018 amounted to $40.34 million, a reduction of 23.61 percent when compared to amounts expended for the same period of 2017.
“We are very much aware of the gains to employment, income and output that can be brought about through effective and efficiently implemented public sector investment projects and we will continue to fulfil our five year commitment to the Nevisian public,” Brantley said.
“These projects have been funded through both external and internal sources such as the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the SIDF and also the Consolidated Fund. My Administration will continue to prioritize public investments to ensure that economic returns are maximized.
Brantley said, “Capital expenditure for the period January to October 2018 amounted to $40.34 million, a reduction of 23.61 percent when compared to amounts expended for the same period of 2017. We are very much aware of the gains to employment, income and output that can be brought about through effective and efficiently implemented public sector investment projects and we will continue to fulfil our five year commitment to the Nevisian public. These projects have been funded through both external and internal sources such as the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the SIDF and also the Consolidated Fund. My Administration will continue to prioritize public investments to ensure that economic returns are maximized.
“For the period January to October 2018, our fiscal outcome showed an improved primary surplus of $5.93 million as specified in the economic classification format. It indicates a healthy widening of the primary balance when compared to the restated balance as at December 31, 2017 of $0.70 million and the comparative period balance of – $2.50 million. Both the current account and the overall balance deficits have also significantly improved from their 2017 levels.”
“This is excellent performance as our collected revenue is ahead of where it was for the same period in 2017 and our expenditures have been well managed for the period as well,”Brantley explained. “However, caution and prudence will continue to be exercised as our small and open economy is very susceptible to external shocks. We will continue to employ due diligence, prudence and a forward thinking mind-set as regards our fiscal policies to ensure that the gains achieved thus far are not eroded.”
Brantley referred to the International Money Fund’s October 2018 World Economic Outlook Report.
“It predicts that global economic growth from mid-2016 to 2017 has been trending upwards – moving from 3.3 percent in 2016 to 3.7 percent in 2017. The report projects continued positive growth in 2018 and 2019, saying it will be constrained for the level achieved in 2017, remaining steady at 3.7 percent for both years respectively,” the minister said.
“Advanced economies are expected to grow at a rate of 2.4 and 2.1 percent for 2018 and 2019 respectively, while emerging markets and developing economies are expected to grow at a steady rate of 4.7 percent for both 2018 and 2019.
“The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects June 2018 report termed “The Turning of the Tide” concurs with the findings of World Economic Outlook. This report projects positive global growth for the years 2018 through to 2020 but with a slightly more conservative projection of 3.0 percent in 2018, 3.1 percent in 2019 and falling off to 2.9 percent in 2020.
Further expansion predicted
“The ECCB forecasts that St. Kitts and Nevis will see further expansion in its economy in 2018 as growth is predicted to be 2.07 percent in 2018 with continued growth in 2018 and 2020,” Brantley said. “Although overall expectations continue to be favourable, there is now heightened concern about the significant downside risks that threaten the longevity of this current growth spell.
“These risks are even more concerning for small and venerable island states such as ourselves. Key to mitigating these risks while improving and sustaining our long term prospects is the establishing of buffers to build resilience, the implementing of policies to boost competiveness and the adaptation of technological innovations.
“These measures will be essential to support continued economic expansion within our boarders and on some issues the development of a cooperative regional approach.”
Brantley said NIA’s 2018 budget clearly articulated the intended fiscal path to be forged for the next three years by the administration. This included the curbing and prioritizing of expenditures and the improvement in the levels of efficiency throughout all aspects of the Public Service including the revenue collection system and service delivery. Our fiscal performance for the period January to October 2018 in comparison to that of the same period in 2017 is a testament to that end.”