BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, SEPTEMBER 28TH, 2016 (PRESS SEC) – Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who is the Minister of Finance et al., reiterated St. Kitts and Nevis’ above-average economic performance and growth in comparison to many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and indeed the rest of the world. Dr. Harris did so today, Wednesday, September 28th, during his Opening Address at the annual National Consultation on the Economy. The Consultation was held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.
There is every reason to expect that this outstanding economic performance by St. Kitts and Nevis will continue, as Prime Minister Harris has said: “My Government is about the people and, as such, our policies will always be focused on lifting the people of this Federation higher.”
What’s more, consumer spending (a component used to calculate Gross Domestic Product, which is one of the primary indicators that measures the health of a country’s economy) appeared to have risen to its highest level after the Team Unity Government got into office following its resounding victory at the polls in February 2015.
This is judging by recent Annual Reports from two of St. Kitts and Nevis’ largest companies. S. L. Horsford & Co. Ltd.’s Annual Report for 2015 said it experienced the “highest sales reported in the history of the company.” Similarly, the TDC Group’s 2015/2016 Directors’ Report published in its 2016 Annual Report said: “The year under review was a historic one for the Automotive Divisions. In December 2015, the highest monthly sales were recorded since the introduction of the Toyota brand in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
People are spending in local shops and other businesses, which means money is circulating locally and creating job opportunities.
The World Bank’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita income data for the year 2015 also show that Kittitians and Nevisians have more money available to spend compared to many other people in the world.
GDP per capita (the measure of average income per person in a country) reached its highest level in St. Kitts and Nevis in 2015: $16,589.10 (represented in US Dollars). This is encouraging, especially considering that, for 2015, St. Kitts and Nevis had the fifth highest GDP per capita income among the Organization of American States (OAS) membership. The United States had a 2015 GDP per capita income of $55,836.80, Canada $43,248.50, The Bahamas $22,896.90, Trinidad and Tobago $20,444.10 and St. Kitts and Nevis $16,589.10.
After years of having their spending restricted by high food prices, Kittitians and Nevisians have been encouraged by the recent fall in prices for food, medicines and funeral expenses. This occurred when the Team Unity Government removed the 17 percent value-added tax (VAT) from those items, effective April 7th, 2015.
Speaking this morning at the Opening Session of the annual National Consultation on the Economy, the Financial Secretary in the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, Mrs. Hilary Hazel, said that “Taking a look at inflation, we had experienced a good period from 2012 to 2014, where the inflation rate remained below 2 percent, which is generally by rule of thumb a good figure, but we have done extraordinarily well in 2015 when the rate of inflation declined significantly to negative 2.8 percent.”
The Financial Secretary added that, “The food index, which peaked in 2014, declined as a result of the policy action implemented by the Government in terms of removing the VAT and import duty from food and other essential items. The ease in inflationary pressures has continued again in 2016, and so we will realize a negative inflation rate of 0.9 percent.”
The National Consultation on the Economy provides representatives from civil society, as well as the public and private sectors, the opportunity to meet at a forum where they can formulate strategies, share perspectives and make recommendations for the further growth, expansion and diversification of the economy. This year’s theme was Working Together – Accelerating Growth and Building Resilience.