Private sector to take leading role in development of the economy

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Jose Rosa, the president of Chamber of Industry and Commerce, has highlighted the importance of the private sector taking a leading role in the development of the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Speaking at the Annual Private Sector Banquet, Rosa indicated that his time serving as president opened his eyes to the importance of the private sector.

“In my second year as president of the CIC, we continue to run with the vision that underscores the chamber’s main function, which is to add value to your organizations by benefits of you being a member of this institution,” he said.

Rosa added that through operations of different committees within the chamber such as those related to human development, manufacturing and crime, they are aiming to involve as many members as possible in the advancements of their agenda organizations.

“This agenda emerges from continuous communication and engagement, which benefits our members,” he said. “In addition, this agenda is used to advance the cause of the private sector and create a synergy, which is necessary for collaboration with the government and other institutions.”

He further stated that as the the global economy continues to evolve, the local economy has to continue to grow in order to benefit and adapt to changes in the world.

“The economy continues to move locally, regionally and internationally,” he said. “Major economies in the world are moving toward a policy of protection and isolation. To create new barriers for the development of the small countries, this new policy might be challenging, but may be perceived as opportunities to develop our trades and local economy by intensifying partnerships with the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and CARICOM, as well as to explore new commercial relationships with nontraditional partners within and outside of Latin America.”

He also explained how climate change and inaction regarding it can impact the local economy.

“These changes and many others will demand a closer partnership between the private sector and the government,” he said. “The alignment of both entities is necessary to sustain the federation’s economy. In an effort to continue creating an environment of collaboration, we shall see the reason for the conversations that we initiated last year under the theme changing the conversation and the negative approach to competitiveness.”

He further noted that the aim is to enhance the collaboration and further and continue the discussion for the further development of the federation and the general well-being of the entire society.

‘For this reason, this year’s theme focuses on deepening the conversation [of] a consistent dialogue for a changing economy.”

Minister of International Trade and Commerce Lindsay Grant, speaking at the same function, noted that the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis are showing signs of a complete turnaround.

“Customers’ deposits have risen and so have loans and advance,” he said. “National Bank in its 2016 annual report said that ‘liquidity remains very strong and available for new opportunities and to this end the bank has contracted the St. Kitts-Nevis Development Bank to reactivate its ‘Fresh Start Programme’ for which demand has substantially exceeded initial expectations and which offers financial support to new local enterprises, which can significantly impact the local economy.’”

Grant added that the Partial Scope Agreement with Guyana and Brazil will see another step in the improvement of the economy of the federation

“It has been protracted over some eight years and it was only last week that we had a team go down to Guyana and your very own Jose Rosa was among the members of the team who discussed bringing this end and final implementation of the PSA, which will be I believe a great relief for our manufacturing sector,” Grant said.

He also spoke to the importance of the of the private sector in the shaping of the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis: “We understand that in order for an economy to operate at peak performance all stakeholders must be engaged at their fullest capacities and so, through the improved partnerships with the private sector, the Team Unity government has made St. Kitts and Nevis a much better place to be. There is no turning back now.”