Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 17, 2017 (SKNIS): It was the government’s goal to achieve a complete turnaround of the economy and there are multiple signs of progress, says Minister of International Trade and Commerce, Honourable Lindsay Grant, speaking at the 34th Annual Private Sector Banquet on July 15 at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel.
The growing economic prosperity of St. Kitts and Nevis is reflected in the largest ever job gains, rising incomes and the solid rebound in consumer spending,” said the minister, citing that sales in the wholesale and retail sector grew by 9.13 percent in 2015 compared to 0.35 percent in 2014.
Evidence of the turnaround can be seen in the reports of record breaking vehicle sales, said Minister Grant, adding that the banking sector is also doing well.
“Customers’ deposits have risen and so have loans and advances,” said the minister. “National Bank in its 2016 annual report said that ‘liquidity remains very strong and available for new opportunities and to this end the bank has contracted the St. Kitts-Nevis Development Bank to reactivate its ‘Fresh Start Programme’ for which demand has substantially exceeded initial expectations and which offers financial support to new local enterprises, which can significantly impact the local economy’.”
Minister Grant reported that the Guyana-Brazil, St. Kitts and Nevis Partial Scope Agreement (PSA) is in its final stage. This will mark another way forward in the economy. The Agreement gives manufacturing companies in St. Kitts and Nevis a near zero percent tariff entry into the Portuguese-speaking South American country’s market.
“It has been protracted over some eight years and it was only last week that we had a team go down to Guyana and your very own Jose Rosa (President of the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce) was among the members of the team who discussed bringing this end and final implementation of the PSA, which will be I believe a great relief for our manufacturing sector.”
The minister said to the private sector stakeholders that the government values its continued partnership and it will continue to play its part in sustaining the momentum of the economy by “creating and nurturing a safe environment for everyone.” He added that it will continue to approve concessions to small and medium sized enterprises, which makes up the engine of the economy.
Minister Grant said that the government also values the Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s engagement at fora such as the National Consultation on the Economy and joint meetings with the Cabinet and the “national security apparatus.”
“We understand that in order for an economy to operate at peak performance all stakeholders must be engaged at their fullest capacities and so through the improved partnerships with the private sector the Team Unity Government has made St. Kitts and Nevis a much better place to be. There is no turning back now,” said Minister Grant.