IMF Says St. Kitts – Nevis Needs To Reduce Debt

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
November 21, 2007 (CUOPM)

The Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that the Government of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is continuing efforts to place the public debt on a downward path.

An IMF team which visited the Federation from October 29th to November 1st said despite two consecutive years of primary fiscal surpluses, the public debt in St. Kitts and Nevis remains high even though there were advances in other sections of the economy.

The IMF team which visited for its annual Article IV consultation with government was headed by Mr. Paul Cashin, who said that “macroeconomic outcomes” in St. Kitts and Nevis have strengthened significantly in recent years, with growth reaching 4 percent in 2006.“While two years of consecutive primary fiscal surpluses since 2005 have helped contain indebtedness, public debt remains high at over 180 percent of GDP at end-2006,” he noted in a statement released Tuesday.

Mr. Cashin said the authorities in Basseterre “are continuing their efforts to introduce reforms to place public debt firmly on a downward path, while maintaining macroeconomic stability and strengthening growth.’

He said that “important reforms” have been undertaken, including closing down the sugar industry and developing other sources of revenue including the sale of government lands and other assets. Cashin also noted that the country is also planning to reform its taxation system.

The team met with acting Prime Minister Hon. Sam Condor, Financial Secretary, Mrs. Janet Harris, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Sir Dwight Veneer and representatives of the financial sector.

“We wish the government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis every success in their efforts to achieve sustained rapid growth and social progress,” said the IMF official.

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