September 13, 2007
Financial Secretary in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Mr. Laurie Lawrence, said it was of vital importance that the private sector to become the engine of growth in Nevis’ economy. It would ensure long term sustainability since government induced growth resulted in high debt levels and insufficient utilisation of capital and other resources.
Mr. Lawrence made the comment during the Ministry of Finance-hosted Consultation on the Economy at the Four Seasons Resort on Tuesday 12, September, 2007. The event brought together representatives from various sectors on Nevis which included the private and public sector, service providers, hoteliers, contractors, small business, youth organisations and Christian organisations.
“We are the movers and shakers who can make a difference to the social and economic well being of Nevis”¦ Let us put country above self and focus our minds on generating ideas for the advancement of present and future generations of Nevisians.
“Life is a constant battle that we have to fight in an effort to remain competitive in a very dynamic and challenging global environment. There is no easy road to success. However with our collective efforts, we may lose some battles but ultimately we will win the war in the fight against poverty and in our effort to bring prosperity to our peopleHe said if the participants worked together Nevis would grow stronger as a nation. He urged the attendees to allow the landmark consultation be remembered as the unifying force which radically changed the landscape of Nevis into a shining example of what they could achieve through team work.
Meantime, representative for the Chamber of Commerce on St. Kitts and Nevis Mr. Chris Martin commended the NIA for the in initiative and regarded the conference as a step forward in the right direction.
With regard to the 2008/09 Budget the Chamber Representative recommended that the NIA kept things small in keeping with the island’s size.
“We recognise that there are limited financial resources to share out at all government departments and programmes and when confronted with this problem, the solution is to rank in priority, establish the basic services and fund them 100 percent. Other programmes would have to be cut but we would understand,” he said.
Mr. Martin said the management of a small government entity like Nevis in today’s more volatile world was not easy since small economies were exposed to the same uncertain factors faced by larger ones.
For a small government operation, fiscal planning was more difficult, he noted, since it was hindered by its inability to respond quickly to shocks to the island like hurricanes; its small tax base; sporadic cash flow to the Treasury; fewer fiscal resources and it did not have many fiscal strategies available such as monetary policies.
“The NIA has too few persons with skills of economic planning. Likewise the Private Sector in Nevis has too few persons with the requisite skills but together, Nevis has the people to plan its own sustainable development,” he said.
Mr. Martin said sustainable economic activity should improve the standard on living in Nevis through increased levels of income, a better standard of living and by extension greater productivity than the island’s neighbours.