Photo: The prime minister, the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris
Harris says economic growth a fundamental element to prosperity
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Growth in the economy is the most fundamental element that would lead to the promise of prosperity, says the prime minister, the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris.
Harris made the remarks at his recently-held monthly press conference Aug. 2. He spoke against the backdrop of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) expectation that the economy would grow again in 2017 for the fifth consecutive year, “notwithstanding a difficult international environment.”
In a staff concluding statement issued in May, the IMF stated that St. Kitts and Nevis’ strong macroeconomic performance owed “much to the robust Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) inflows and their spillovers to the economy, as well as overall prudent macroeconomic policies.”
Harris said, “It is important to demonstrate by way of contrast and so I want to contrast the IMF report of June 2017 to what the IMF had to say just over three years ago. In fact, March 2014, in their Release No. 14/138, the IMF stated then, ‘St Kitts and Nevis is recovering from a 4-year economic recession.’ Recession is down the escalator ‘occasioned by the international financial crisis, the need to restore fiscal sustainability and restructure public debt.’”
He said the economy is expected to continue to strengthen over the medium term towards its potential growth of 3 to 3.5 percent. “…the IMF publication reminds us of our economic growth pattern of the past and lest we forget what our economic growth looked like then in 2014: 2010 – negative growth of 3.8, 2011 – negative growth of 1.9, 2012 – 0.9 negative, 2013 – 1.7 projected,” Harris said, adding “Indeed the IMF in March 2014 reported that ‘following a prolonged slowdown with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined by a cumulative 10 percent between 2009-2012’. So the slippage had been prolonged. The contrast then is obvious. After the people made the change we had economic growth in 2015 of about five percent, in 2016, 3.1, and our projection for 2017, is that we should average somewhere around three percent if all things goes well.”
He described the performance of consistent economic growth, the significant debt reduction, the job growth, the expansion of credit to the private sector, along with the reform and repositioning of the CBI programme to platinum status as “superlative,” Harris said, “For all of these, I give credit to the unleashing of a more disciplining spirit and entrepreneurial zeal among our people and to the hard work of the professional staff within government.”