IMF official says 2013 will see economic turnaround for St. Kitts and Nevis; says government has worked hard to provide good climate for local private sector

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 1ST 2013 (CUOPM) – A senior International Monetary Fund official says this year, 2013, will see an economic turnaround for the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis.

IMF Chief of the Caribbean 1 Division, Mr. George Tsibouris in an exclusive interview with WINNFM, not only projected economic growth in 2013, but made it abundantly clear that the government of Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, has worked quite assiduously to make conditions for the local Private Sector to engage in more economic activity.

The IMF official’s pronouncement also rubbishes statements from the opposition PAM party officials and former cabinet member, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, that St. Kitts and Nevis is the only Caribbean nation that had experienced negative economic growth over the last few years.

“The past few years have been years of negative growth which is not specific to St. Kitts, I think the whole region has suffered the same kinds of slow down. With that being said, we see 2013 as being the year of turnaround; our current projections suggests that growth will turn to the positive, probably somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1% or a little bit more that 1%,” Mr. Tsibouris said.

He told WINNFM: “For 2013, we do see an economic recovery in North America and that should help on the tourism front, but we also see some tangible real estate tourism projects in St. Kitts that ought to provide the desired stimulus.”

The IMF official is of the view that at the end of the day it is going to be the private sector that will see an oblique growth and the role of government is really to facilitate the ability of the private sector to take forth both the investment and the execution of these projects.

“I think the government has worked quite assiduously to try to make conditions for the Private Sector more conducive certainly to more economic activity but also importantly to employment. We give a lot of importance to the ability of boosting employment in St. Kitts as more generally in the Caribbean Region,” said Mr. Tsibouris.

He is of the view however, that providing tax holidays is not the best way to attract Foreign Direct Investment.

“We don’t think that the best way to attract foreign Direct Investment is to provide tax holidays for exactly that reason because at the end of the day, it will be a long, long time before you see the benefits coming to the local economy. So in some sense how does one attract Foreign Direct Investment? You attract it by having excellent infrastructure. You attract it by having a highly educated work force; you attract them by having electricity that is less expensive. You attract them by having a good communications infrastructure in flights and marine, but also by way of internet and telecommunications; but you compete on that basis,” said Mr. Tsibouris.

He is also of the view that St. Kitts has a lot to offer in terms of places that corporations would want to put money in because they think that at the end of the day they will also make money.

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