Government, private sector can achieve more through continued partnership

From the press unit in the Office of the Prime Minister

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris-led Team Unity government says it recognizes the important role of the private sector to the socioeconomic development of the country, and as such meets regularly with the leadership of the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC).

Prime Minister Harris stated that his administration values the input of the chamber in the shaping of policies and programmes and has reached out to the private sector for collaboration in the ongoing progressive development in the country in many areas such as the government’s home and property ownership programmes.

“We did say that we would identify across the country a number of areas that can be used as middle and higher end housing development and in those areas in particular, we would like to see the business community come on board in this critical area,” Harris said during a four-hour long meeting with CIC officials May 11 at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.

The prime minister said that tourism continues to play a significant role in the development of the country and stressed that “we need, of course, to have significant input and leadership from the private sector in terms of developing the kind of skill pool that is required to ensure that we can continue to service the sector and prepare our people better for participation in what is trending to be the high end tourism market.”

On the issue of business development, Prime Minister Harris noted that the Team Unity-led government of St. Kitts and Nevis has fostered an environment that supports the creation and advancement of micro, small and medium sized business. This was accomplished largely in part to innovative the FRESH Start Programme, which has since September 2015 assisted more than 600 people to either start or expand their operations through concessionary funding and technical assistance.

The government is actively seeking to partner with other agencies to inject additional funds into the FRESH Start Programme to meet the high demand by citizens and residents for assistance.

In light of this, the honourable prime minister challenged the CIC to partner further with the government in identifying niche market areas, particularly for small- and middle-sized entities, “because that is where the bulk of the ordinary Kittitians and Nevisians would find themselves in terms of their own capacity to invest.”

In addition to improving the business climate within the federation, last Friday’s meeting between the chamber and government officials also addressed matters relating to disaster mitigation, education and national security.