(Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The current economic standing of St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as the country’s potential for future economic growth, was among the topics discussed today (Wednesday, April 4) when Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, met with the new Division Chief of the Caribbean 1 Division in the Western Hemisphere Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms. Sònia Muñoz and Deputy Division Chief of the Caribbean 1 Division, Dr. Arnold McIntyre.
Dr. McIntyre is also now serving as the new IMF mission chief for St. Kitts and Nevis, replacing Ms. Inci Otker who has taken up another assignment.
Prime Minister Harris was supported at that meeting by Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Andrew Skerritt; Financial Secretary in the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, Mrs. Hilary Hazel; and Advisor in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Howard Richardson.
Dr. Harris stated that his Team Unity Government has enjoyed a very beneficial relationship with the IMF over the last three years in office, as it looks to advance the growth and economic prospects of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“We expect that we will have even better cooperation between ourselves and the IMF through your leadership,” the prime minister said to Ms. Muñoz.
He continued, “Dr. McIntyre is no stranger; he has worn several hats within the region but certainly he has visited St. Kitts on numerous occasions in a multiplicity of capacities and rendered good support on policy advice. We think we have a combination in you as the chief of the mission for sub-region, and Dr. McIntyre, who is a good friend of St. Kitts and Nevis, to help us advance.”
Prime Minister Harris told the visiting delegation that there remain significant challenges on which his government hopes to engage the IMF.
“Most important is how do we as a government advance the welfare and the quality of life for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis [and] how do we attain a level of growth that is sufficient to spread improved conditions through all sectors and most important to the people, particularly the poor. And while we advance in terms of our growth, we want to ensure that it is an inclusive growth so that all or the widest cross section of persons, citizens and residents is benefitting from the growth that the country realizes.”
The Finance Minister further assured the IMF officials that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is committed to ensuring discipline in the fiscal management of the country.
Dr. Harris said, “We understand that we have to excite the industry, the creativity and ingenuity of our people and we are committed to doing those things to ensure that the country moves consistently forward and upward, and by so doing bring a prosperity agenda which we promised our people to even greater realization.”
Ms. Muñoz thanked Prime Minister Harris for receiving her delegation and added, “I already can see that I am going to enjoy very much working on ensuring economic and financial stability in the region with you.”
In its 2017 Article IV consultation on the St. Kitts and Nevis economy, the IMF commended the twin island Federation, under the leadership of the Dr. Harris-led Team Unity Administration, for its competent and prudent management of the local economy.