Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 17TH 2007 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis recorded increased economic activity for the first quarter of 2007. The Cabinet, during its meeting on Monday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas expressed pleasure at the positive direction of the growth of the national economy and the improvement in the government’s fiscal position.
Financial Secretary, Mrs. Janet Harris and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Mrs. Hilary Hazel in a comprehensive report on the economic and fiscal situation told Cabinet that the growth was attributed to activity in agriculture, construction, the distributive trade, banking, wholesale, retail and government services.
“The current account balance recorded a surplus of EC$5.8 million, and the overall balance and primary balance recorded growth rates of 100.3 percent and 101.2 percent respectively. The primary balance exhibited a surplus of $22.1 million,” Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Sustainable Development, Information and Technology, Sen. the Hon. Nigel Carty.He told the weekly Cabinet Briefing that during the first quarter of this year, in relation to Agriculture specifically, food production increased 67.9 percent or by an estimated $1.3 million. The increase was related to output in the following crops: sweet potatoes, peanuts, white potatoes, pineapple and cabbage.
Mr. Carty said that the construction sector grew by 2.0 percent for the quarter under review and that the increase is due to winding down construction activities related to Cricket World Cup 2007.
Cabinet was informed that the stock of public sector debt as at the end of the first quarter of 2007 stood at 155.2 percent of GDP as compared to 164.6 percent in 2006.
“The Central Government debt now stands at 89.3 percent of GDP as compared to 94.5 percent of GDP in 2006,” said Mr. Carty.
He expressed Cabinet’s pleasure at the positive direction of the growth of the National Economy and the improvement in the government’s fiscal position.
“Cabinet therefore articulated its strong resolve to continue to reduce the stock of public debt by making prudent fiscal decisions and by working with regional partners to stay on course with its structural adjustment programme and to set the economy and the fiscal position of the government on an even stronger footing,” said Carty.