St. Kitts and Nevis’ good Debt to….
St. Kitts and Nevis’ good Debt to GDP ratio attributed to
former Labour Party Government economic strategy
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS – March 6th 2017 – The high praise for St. Kits and Nevis’ positive Debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio can be attributed to the hard work of the Ministry of finance under the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Administration (SKNLP) of former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.
Presenting the St. Kitts and Nevis Budget for 2015 in December 2014, Dr. Douglas, then Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, told the Nation “the public sector debt is firmly trending downwards and is projected to decrease at a pace which will see us meeting the ECCB’s target of 60% of GDP in 2017 – 3 years ahead of the 2020 timeline.”
Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine said last week that lowering the Debt to GDP ratio is one such means of protecting gains throughout the ECCU and of the efforts of member states to reach the ultimate goal of 60 percent Debt to GDP ratio by 2020.
“There would be an interest in the private sector to see us get to the target of 60 percent and at the moment we’re averaging around 75-76 percent in the currency union – some countries are lower than that like St. Kitts and Nevis for example,” said the Central Bank Governor.
Former Prime Minister Douglas recently noted that the economic development strategy of his Labour Administration came in for high marks from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank which projected a 60 percent Debt to GDP ratio by the end of 2017.
“We initiated a programme which was successfully completed with high marks being given by the IMF. The debt to GDP ratio that we left was about 70 percent of GDP,” said Dr. Douglas, who during a recent “Ask the Leader” programme on Kyss 102.5 FM blasted Prime Minister Harris for being “deceitful and lying” for telling the Nation that he paid off a debt that the Labour Administration left.
“Dr. Harris cannot even be gracious at a time when there has been abundant success as a result of a programme that he first embraced (in the Labour Government and as Minister of Finance and then opposed just before he was dismissed from the Labour Cabinet,” said Dr. Douglas, who again used the opportunity to express thanks to several persons involved in the IMF discussions.
In September 2014, when the Debt to GDP ratio was near 90 percent, Dr. Douglas showered praise on several persons responsible for this achievement and said credit should go to those who have worked assiduously to ensure that the financial situation in the country would have improved.
Recently he again publicly showered praise and gave credit to former Financial Secretary, Mrs. Janet Harris and her successor, Mrs. Hilary Hazel, Mrs. Manning-Gumbs, Mr. Calvin Edwards and the other staff members in the Ministry of Finance and Accountant at the Treasury, Mr. Livi Bradshaw who kept a watchful eye as to what was happening. I want to thank all of them in the Ministry of Finance,” said Dr. Douglas.
Following the severe financial and economic crisis in 2008 and 2009, St. Kitts and Nevis after pursuing a 3-year IMF programme achieved a 7 percent growth rate in 2013 and 6 percent in 2014.
The growth rate has been lauded by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Washington-based International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Commonwealth.
Since taking office, the growth rate has taken a nose dive under the Timothy Harris-led CCM/PLP/PAM coalition registering 3.5 percent in 2015. In January this year the ECCB revised downward the growth rate for St. Kitts and Nevis from 3.02 percent to 2.8 percent in 2016.
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