October 20, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister): Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, met with the upper ranks of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to discuss a range of developmental issues and the support that the IMF can provide to further sustain the consistent economic growth of the Federation.
During a meeting on Saturday (October 19), Executive Director of the IMF, Ms. Louise Levonian commended the St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and his Team Unity administration on its strong economic performance and reforms to mitigate fiscal risks. There were also constructive dialogue centered around the Federation’s efforts at building resilience to natural disasters, sustaining its fiscal and debt sustainability goals, overcoming financial/banking system obstacles and the importance of capacity development as a means of managing threats imposed by these risks.
The Honourable Prime Minister, during this conversation, highlighted the dangers of using the gross domestic product (GDP) as the key indicator in accessing emergency funding assistance after a natural disaster. He reiterated that some Small Island States like the Federation were unable to benefit from this funding due to their high GDP. He called on the IMF officials to clinically examine other country benchmarks as a gateway for receiving emergency financial assistance after a natural disaster “while maintaining international good governance standards.”
Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris also met with Mr. Tao Zhang, Deputy Managing Director of the IMF. The discussions with Mr. Zhang focused on the strong economic performance of the Federation’s economy and the avenues whereby the IMF can provide more support and engagement to the Government.
The IMF officials further acclaimed the Dr. Harris-led administration on its robust fiscal measures that contributed to the Federation becoming one of the first Small Island States in the world to bring its debt-to-GDP ratio in line with the international benchmark of 60 percent. The officials commended the St. Kitts and Nevis Government for its visionary management of the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme and the economy that has resulted in consistent growth of revenue inflows from year to year.
Mr. Zhang also used the opportunity to introduce the Honourable Prime Minister to the New Mission Chief for St. Kitts and Nevis, Ms. Aliona Cebotari, Deputy Division Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division. The officials held encouraging dialogue with the Prime Minister on the next Article IX Mission for the Federation as well as avenues for further technical assistance from the IMF.
Deputy Managing Director Zhang described the meetings as “timely and productive.” He also thanked the Honourable Prime Minister for their fruitful discussions and reiterated the IMF’s commitment in sustaining and advancing the economic development of the Federation.