BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, December 15, 2020 (MMS-SKN) — As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis is likely to contract by 12.5 percent for 2020, according to the Statistics Department, but the estimates also project that the economy will rebound in 2021 with a positive growth rate of about five percent.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, made the revelation on Tuesday December 15 at a sitting of the National Assembly held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort Ballroom where he tabled The Appropriation (2021) Bill, 2020, in which his Team Unity Government is seeking approval for $867.9 million to meet the business of the country for the coming year 2021.
“Our Statistics Department estimates that the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis is likely to contract by 12.5 percent for 2020,” stated Prime Minister Harris. “These estimates also project that economy will rebound in 2021 with a positive growth rate of about five percent.”
The estimates of positive growth rate for St. Kitts and Nevis, asserted the Honourable Prime Minister, are broadly consistent in terms of direction with the estimates forecasted by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) which projects a 6.4 percent growth for St. Kitts and Nevis, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which projects an eight percent growth for St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Indeed the IMF is saying that St. Kitts and Nevis will be the fastest growing country in the OECS and indeed the second fastest growing country in 2021 in relation to the hemisphere,” said Dr Harris. “Mr Speaker, this is really good news coming from international organisations, not just our own Statistics Department. But of course there is something on which everything else is contingent – Covid-19.”
Prime Minister Harris who presented the Budget Address under the theme ‘Fortitude During the Pandemic: Resilience, Recovery and Transformation’, had earlier observed that 2020 will long be remembered for many things, but of everything else 2020 will be remembered for Covid-19. It is a year that will go down in the annals of history as an exceptional and memorable year where people experienced mixed fortunes around the world, and also in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“At this time we should really give thanks to Almighty God for seeing us thus far through what has been a very challenging year,” said Dr Harris. “On the positive side of the events that would memorialise 2020, will be our resounding victory at the polls and the return of the Team Unity at the helm of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis. My Team Unity Administration is humbled by the overwhelming support and confidence that our people demonstrated in us by the tremendous victory we secured at the polls on the 5th June 2020.”
With the clear and stronger mandate given to the Team Unity Government to ensure the continued development of the Federation and to secure a stronger and safer future for all of the people, Dr Harris noted that his Government has already begun to deliver on that mandate and pledges to work even harder to improve its delivery.
“This is our pledge to our people, to all who choose to live, work and do business here in our Land of Beauty,” said the Prime Minister. “As we seek to honour this pledge we commit to working with the citizens and residents to build out exciting plans for the stronger and safer future to which the budgetary allocations would allow us to fund.”
According to Dr Harris, who is also the Federal Minister of Finance, in the context of the Budget 2021 the Government has used the most conservative estimates of growth of five percent in determining the budget predictions, “and in 2021 we expect principally the same sectors that were driving the growth in 2020 first quarter will again assist us – construction, wholesale, transport, real estate etc.”