A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Ms. Inci Otker, visited St. Kitts and Nevis during April 20–May 3 to conduct the 2016 Article IV Consultation. At the conclusion of the discussions, Ms. Otker issued a report on the Mission which lauded the new Dr. Timothy Harris led Team UNITY Government for it’s exceptional management of the federation’s fiscal and economic activities.
Ms Otker reported “Macroeconomic performance remained strong in 2015. The economy grew at an estimated 5 percent, in line with 2015 Article IV projections.”
The Report also highlighted what it terms the ongoing recovery in Tourism and strong wholesale and retail activity as key factors that supported the significant growth experienced over the last year.
It stated that Inflation turned negative, owing to the impact of VAT and import duty exemptions and lower commodity prices. The fiscal position remained in surplus, at an estimated 5 percent of GDP. The debt-to-GDP ratio continued its impressive downward trajectory, and is projected to reach the ECCU’s 2030 target of 60 percent in 2017.
The IMF’s positive overview of the economy reinforces similar statements made by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), and United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on the impressive economic performance of St Kitts and Nevis.
The Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris led Team UNITY Government was also commended for the comprehensive reform of the CBI Programme.
“The authorities are to be commended for the comprehensive reform of the CBI program. Cooperation with neighboring islands would be helpful to ensure the sustainability of the CBI schemes in the region. Improvements in the transparency of SIDF financial reporting are welcome, as are the plans for its potential integration with the consolidated fund to provide a comprehensive fiscal perimeter and the efforts to streamline and reorient the People’s Employment Program to its original purpose of training the labor force to close the skills gap,” the IMF Report declares.
The mission met with the Premier of Nevis, the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), the Financial Secretary of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Permanent Secretary of Finance of the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), other senior government and ECCB officials, the Financial Services Regulatory Commission, and representatives of the financial and business community, and concluded with the Honorable Prime Minister Harris on May 5th in Washington DC.