Public debt reduced by 13 percent

Basseterre, St. Kitts – The prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris, has disclosed that the public debt of St. Kitts and Nevis has been reduced by 13 percent and grew the federations economic pie by 9 percent.

Harris made the announcement during his latest press conference, referencing one of the IMF’s reports on St. Kitts and Nevis that indicated that the federation had the strongest growth in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. The report credited the government’s management of the economy for the achievement.

“It is in my view a mark of support of our prudent management of the economy that the IMF, in one of its staff reports, stated St. Kitts and Nevis attained the strongest growth and fiscal performance in the ECCU in recent years, with public debt set to meet ECCU debt to GDP target in 2018,” he said. He further noted that the target of 60 percent debt to GDP was set by the ECCU for 2030 and the federation will meet it 12 years before the target date.

“This of course is excellent news,” he said. “This, of course, indicates we are doing better than most. This, of course, speaks well to our approach fiscal and economic management.”

Harris disclosed that in 2016 the government had repaid a significant sum of the monies owed to IMF.

“It is well known that we inherited a very high debt and that part of our fiscal response is to reduce it,” he said. “In this regard, in 2016 we had repaid a total of $117 million of the total of the $225 million contracted with the bailout with the IMF in July 2011. We expedited the payoff there by redeeming our country’s good name and signalling our commitment never again to so deliberately get on the path of profligacy and fiscal recklessness ….”

He also indicated that the government had in total repaid more than $200 million of the federations debt since taking office.

“To date, according to statistics received from the Ministry of Finance, we have paid on the public debt $228.5 million, reducing it by 13 percent since 2015.”

As well as reducing the debt, Harris also boasted about growing the economic pie over the last two years.

“We are not only working on debt, but equally we have grown the economic pie by 9 percent from $2.3 billion in 2014 to $2.5 billion in our short stint at the helm of the government,” he said “Imagine if the over one-forth of a billion that we had to spend on the public debt were pumped into capital projects in the country – how much more the economic pie would have advanced.”

Harris also boasted of other economic accomplishments that helped the strong performance in the economy.

“This superlative performance of consistent economic growth under our watch of significant debt reduction, job growth, and the expansion of credit to the private sector, the reform and repositioning of our CBI to platinum status – for all of these I give credit to the unleashing of a more discipline in spirit and entrepreneurial zeal among our people,” he said.

“I want to contrast the IMF report of June 2017 to what the IMF had to say just over three years ago in March 2014,” he said. “The IMF stated then that St. Kitts and Nevis is recovering from a four-year economic recession occasioned by the international financial crisis the need to restore fiscal sustainability and restructure the public debt. In contrast, this statement [that] St. Kitts and Nevis attained its strongest growth and fiscal performance in the ECCU in recent years.”