PM Harris convenes 2018 Estimates Committee Meetings in preparation for budget presentation

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, OCTOBER 9TH, 2017 (PRESS SEC) – Minister of Finance and Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, today, Monday, October 9th, 2017, convened the 2018 Budget Estimates Committee Meetings, which will run through Wednesday, at the Ministry of Finance Conference Room.

During this morning’s Opening Session, the Honourable Prime Minister outlined the process by which the Government prepares its annual Estimates.

“Even when we would have finished going through the Ministries line by line, there may be matters that require further consultation between the Ministry of Finance and Sustainable Development and the respective line ministries. We are hoping that these [consultations] could be done very quickly after this exercise, so that within a week we are at a better place as to what are the final resolutions of these matters,” Prime Minister Harris said, noting that only then can “the actual work on finalizing the draft Budget Estimates for the Financial Year 2018…begin more earnestly.”

Dr. Harris added: “That is a very time-consuming exercise, needing a lot of iterations, needing consultation not only at home with [persons at] the political level, but also with our international partners [the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank] whose job it is to provide an independent perspective on the fiscal road on which the Government will embark.”

Prime Minister Harris continued: “That, ultimately, will be the responsibility of Cabinet, of course, to make the final determinations, but we can’t ignore the recommendations that we will have from the IMF and the World Bank, who are specialists in fiscal management and whom we have to turn to from time to time to lend their support to a number of Budget initiatives.”

In attendance were the Cabinet of Ministers and Government officials, including Permanent Secretaries and senior representatives from the Ministry of Finance.
Cabinet heard presentations today from various Ministries, including Tourism; International Trade, Industry and Commerce; Audit, and Education, as well as from the Office of the Governor-General.

Seated at the head table with Prime Minister Harris were the Financial Secretary in the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, Mrs. Hilary Hazel, and her Deputies, Mr. Calvin Edwards and Mrs. Sylvia Gumbs, as well as the Cabinet Secretary, Mrs. Josephine Huggins.

The Budget Estimates Committee Meetings will resume tomorrow, Tuesday, with presentations expected from other Ministries, as well as the Parliament and the Office of the Attorney-General.

Last year on Wednesday, December 7th, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris presented his Team Unity administration’s 2017 Budget, which allocated EC$712.9 million to both recurrent and capital expenditures.

The Appropriation (2017) Bill, 2016 was passed in the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis on Friday, December 9th, 2016.

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