BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, November 06, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis today (Friday, November 06) solicited the input and contributions from representatives of the private sector and civil society that will be instrumental in shaping the strategies and programmes of the Government that can fast-track a speedy recovery of the Federation’s economy.
Thiswas done during a national dialogue, hosted by the Ministry of Finance, at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel. It was attended by Ministers of the Federal Cabinet, senior government officials, representatives of the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and members of the private sector drawn from the financial services, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), agriculture, manufacturing and tourism sectors, among others.
FinancialSecretary, Mrs. Hilary Hazel, stated that the discussions with these critical stakeholders came as the Government continues the process of preparing the 2021 National Budget.
“The Government had decided that it could not proceed with the preparations for the 2021 Budget without some level of consultation with some of the key non state actors – the critical partners as it relates to the development process here in St. Kitts and Nevis. At the Ministry of Finance, we believe that consulting with all partners is important to help with the development process and this is particularly so as it relates to the formulation of policies, whether it is tax policy, economic policy or social policy,” Mrs. Hazel said.
PrimeMinister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, delivered the featured address during the national dialogue, where he stressed that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its cruel impact on the lives and livelihoods of citizens and residents is the most significant challenge to the Government.
“Data on COVID-19 indicates that it has been devastating on investor confidence, Government reserves, and global economic growth. Every government in countries large or small has as its main immediate priority the rebuilding of its economy and society, scarred by COVID-19 pandemic. St. Kitts and Nevis is no exception in this regard. We have been more fortunate than most to have over a 7-month period recorded the least number of COVID-19 cases of any sovereign state, importantly no deaths, and at this time no hospitalizations,” Prime Minister Harris stated.
Theprime minister said he’s confident that with collective industry, ingenuity, perseverance and discipline, St. Kitts and Nevis can return to the growth path it was on before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While the various aspects of my Government’s stimulus package have been critical to providing much needed short-term support to various sectors in the economy, they certainly cannot be sustained indefinitely. The reserves that we are drawing down on could not last forever. The uncertainty and severity of the crisis demand more sustained initiatives to protect businesses and workers. I therefore welcome the suggestions of all on how the key sectors in the economy can be repositioned to be more resilient and suggestions on areas that could be explored to better diversify the economy,” Dr. Harris added.
Friday’s National Consultation was yet another example of how much value the Team Unity Administration places on the input of the corporate sector in the shaping of policies and programmes of the Government.
Throughoutthe year, the Government facilitated a number of productive meetings with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce on matters ranging from the economy to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the latest meeting taking place at the Ministry of Finance Conference Room on August 05, 2020.