Nevis Working Hard On Paying Off Debts
December 11, 2008
The Nevis Island Administration (NIA) plans to reduce or eliminate the Public Sector Debt within the next three to five years. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Mr. Laurie Lawrence confirmed the move and said it was an achievable target, when he spoke to the Department of Information in a recent interview.
According to Mr. Lawrence, the total debt of the Nevis Island Government stood at $273,000,000 and if the Statutory Bodies debt was added it would be about $348,000,000 overall.
“We could achieve [the target] for the reason being, we would have completed most of the significant items in the Capital Budget, so we should be able to reduce or Capital Expenditure over the next three to five years and as such reduce our debt.
“We believe that within five years we should be able to generate an overall surplus that is the goal assuming of course that we continue on the existing path which we are pursuing at this moment,” he said.
Permanent Secretary explained that a significant amount of the debt by the NIA was concessionary. He pointed to debts from the Kuwait Fund which was about four percent; one from the European Investment Bank which was about two percent and a significant amount from the Caribbean Development Bank which was below market rate.
He said though, that the Administration was closely monitoring debts from commercial institutions at market rate.
Notwithstanding, Mr. Lawrence described the debt picture of Nevis as being “not so bad” since it was basically concessionary but the current financial crisis coupled with the closure of the Four Seasons Resort which was damaged by Hurricane Omar, necessitated careful debt management as 2009 would be a difficult year.