BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The St. Kitts and Nevis economy continues to pick up as individuals and businesses adapt to the new normal created by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
At his Monthly Press Conference earlier this month, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris noted that the manufacturing sector is on course for a productive third quarter of 2020 with 84 percent of employees who are willing to work now back on the job.
The Prime Minister previously reported that the construction sector continues to be built out with the resumption of projects such as the road rehabilitation project and the start of the TDC Dewars housing project.
The tourism sector is expected to receive a shot in the arm at the end of this month with the phased reopening of the borders to regional and international travellers on October 31. Dr. Harris said the number of incoming passengers will “definitely climb” as the number of flights increase.
These factors are good news for the government, which has spent millions of dollars to support individuals who suffered a loss of income as a result of the global pandemic.
In the months of April, May, June and September, the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board reported that it paid out approximately $24 million in relief payment to qualifying workers and self-employed individuals who suffered an income loss due to COVID-19. The Prime Minister announced that the Government’s Poverty Alleviation Programme has also paid out some $16 million since the month of April to assist households earning less than $3,000 per month.
Additionally, corporate and unincorporated businesses received significant tax relief of 24 percent and 50 percent reduction. Enormous amounts were also spent to assist persons in agriculture to boost production of food crops and livestock.
“We would want to have more people safely at work so that these types of gratuitous payments do not become unsustainable,” said Dr. Harris.
He added that the government is committed to returning St. Kitts and Nevis to its strong pre-COVID-19 economic position.