IMF commends St. Kitts and Nevis, disburses nearly US$5 million

IMF HQ

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 21ST 2012 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis is being commended for the strong implementation of their home-grown, IMF-supported programme.

Notwithstanding an adverse global setting, the fiscal target was met by a comfortable margin, and the authorities’ structural reforms progressed as planned,” said Mr. Naoyuki Shinohara, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair following the Executive Board’s discussion on Monday, May 21, 2012.

Mr. Shinohara said following three consecutive years of decline, the domestic economic outlook is positive, supported by FDI-related construction and an improvement in tourism activities, although the global environment continues to present downside risks.

“The authorities successfully concluded a debt exchange with bondholders and external commercial creditors, the first phase of the comprehensive restructuring of the public debt. They have also made further progress in the resolution of domestic loans, including on the conversion of loans secured with land. It will be important to minimize the impact of debt restructuring on banks’ balance sheets to preserve financial sector stability. The Special Purpose Vehicle should be implemented according to international best practices,” said Mr. Shinohara.

He said the success of the programme hinges on a proactive policy response to safeguard achievement of the fiscal targets and strict adherence to the planned pace of structural reforms.

“In this regard, the authorities are proceeding with efforts to enhance tax revenue, maintain tight control over expenditure, and prepare contingency measures. It will be important to continue to make progress on other fiscal reforms to expand space for growth-promoting spending,” Mr. Shinohara said.

He disclosed that the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the second review of St. Kitts and Nevis’ economic performance under a programme supported by a 36-month Stand-by Arrangement (SBA).

The completion of the review allows the immediate disbursement of an amount equivalent to SDR 3.161 million (about US $4.83 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 36.781 million (about US $56.21 million).

The Executive Board also approved a request for waivers of applicability for three end-March 2012 performance criteria. These waivers were necessary because the Executive Board meeting was scheduled to take place after end-March but before the data for the overall balance of the central government, the central government budget expenditure arrears, and the stock of short-term external debt becomes available.

The SBA was approved on July 27, 2011 equivalent to SDR 52.51 million (about US $80.25 million), or 590 percent of St. Kitts and Nevis’ IMF quota.

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