St. Kitts – Nevis’ PM – Denzil Douglas
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
June 20, 2012 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas with the thunder clouds gathering globally in recent years, his Federal Government made the reduction of the national debt an absolute and non-negotiable priority.
“In this unpredictable global economic environment, the welfare of our very nation demanded it. And so we rose to that challenge and thanks to the cooperation of our creditors, it was done. Our Paris Club obligations were also a concern of ours. And so we headed across the Atlantic; entered into very intense and difficult, and lengthy negotiations and thanks to the reputation of our Government in international financial circles and the associated confidence of Paris Club officials in the management acumen that we bring to the table, St. Kitts and Nevis emerged with a historic debt rescheduling agreement; exactly what my Government had hoped for, and the type of agreement that any responsible nation would welcome,” said Prime Minister Douglas at the 30th Annual Private Sector Gala.
He told the cream of the business community that with its traditional economic partners in Europe and North America experiencing their own economic stresses, the Government made the diversification of our economic partnerships a priority, and a Partial Scope Agreement with Brazil became paramount as the Chamber President related a moment ago.
He stated that with the global scenario as an inescapable backdrop, St. Kitts and Nevis pushes forward to ensure maximum benefits for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis from the Partial Scope Agreement with Brazil.
“We therefore call on the private sector to make use of this important facility so we can create more jobs and bring a possible positive economic growth here in our country,” said Dr. Douglas.
He noted that his government continues to assess the workings and impact of the Value Added Tax because of its importance to the overall economic reforms. “This of course was pursued, and this we delivered,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He pointed out that now more than ever, “the global climate demands that we in St. Kitts and Nevis ensure that the trifecta of Government, business and labour functions as a constructive whole, in defense of that same public good.”
He further pointed out that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just announced, following its June review of the Government’s Stand-by Agreement, that St. Kitts-Nevis has met all, all agreed upon quantitative targets.
“In addition, the Fund once again declared its very strong commitment to the policies and the objectives of St. Kitts and Nevis’ home-grown economic programme, as the path to fiscal and debt sustainability. And the effect of these achievements is a return of confidence, confidence of all in the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
“Nonetheless, the Fund has also pointed out that the global environment is now weighing on economic activity here, leading to a basically zero rate of projected economic growth this year. And that is why I said before it has been revised downwards,” said the Prime Minister.
“Our work to transform our oil-based economy to one powered by alternative energy is in fact moving forward. And maybe David was listening into our Cabinet meeting on Thursday because a package of incentives has already been passed so that we would move smoothly from fossil based energy to what we now call renewable energy,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader.