IMF Caribbean Head Disputes Economic Growth Figures

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PM Douglas Alerted To Mistakes In Report

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
October 26, 2010 (CUOPM)

Head of the Caribbean Division in the Western Hemisphere Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mr. Alfred Schipke, has written to St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, to correct figures in the press in relation to economic growth in the Federation for the period 2010 to 2015.

“I saw the Press incorrectly quoting an IMF figure. I want to alert you to this. It seems that the journalists made an averaging mistake. For 2013/14/15 we have 2 percent growth (baseline scenario). It seems that they just took the 2010, 2011, and 2015 numbers to do the averaging,” said Mr. Schipke in an email to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.

In welcoming the statement from the IMF official, Prime Minister Douglas during his weekly “Ask the Prime Minister,” noted his statement during the programme last week that the growth rate is going to be (1.7) for the rest of this year and by next year, we would begin to see positive growth rates.”

Dr. Douglas said that he was confident that that is the projected position that St. Kitts and Nevis is taking “as we roll ourselves out of the effects of the global financial and economic crisis that has hit us hard; that has hit several other countries around the world.”

“It seems as though in this country, some people glorify, glorify in adversity, glorify it would appear when things appear negative, glorify when things appear not to be going right and so what actually has been a whole week of pedaling of negatives now the IMF itself, which was originally been quoted is saying clearly to us that an error was made who just simply took an average of 2010, 2011 and 2015 and continue to emphasise that that is erroneous and has to be corrected,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

On Monday, the The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis says it remains optimistic regarding the growth prospects for the twin-island Federation.

The Department of Statistics, in collaboration with the ECCB, compiled medium term GDP projections for the period 2010 to 2012 during August 2010.

“This exercise has produced GDP projections indicating a decline of 1.4% in 2010 and positive growth by 1.1% and 1.6% in 2011 and 2012, respectively. These estimates were noted to be very conservative given (i) the uncertainty surrounding the opening date for the Four Seasons Resort, (ii) the fragility of the recovery in the global economy and (iii) the possibility of a double-dip recession and a sustained high unemployment rate in the United States,” a news release from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Sustainable said.

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