Prime Minister Harris Presides Over The Annual Budget Estimates Committee Meetings
During this annual exercise, which will help shape the 2022 Budget for St. Kitts and Nevis, senior level government officials, including Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Departments for the various Line Ministries will present their plans for the upcoming financial year, account for their performance or lack thereof during the current year and assure the Federal Cabinet that their policies, programmes and activities are being pursued with diligence, care and in accordance with the law and best practices.
In opening the Estimates Committee Meetings, Prime Minister Harris stated that 2022 will be an important year as his Government will look to take the economy out of the shadow of COVID-19 and on a path of inclusive growth that will ensure a better quality of life for all, higher levels of employment and greater income generation than before.
“Of course, the focus is still on COVID-19 as COVID-19 represents the single most important global challenge we have to confront, at least in the short term. And so, this is the challenge that we must rise to and we must conquer if we are to realize the progress that we promise. Our most important tool in this fight continues to be the vaccine and therefore all of us must do all we can to encourage an even larger number of persons to get vaccinated,” Dr. Harris said.
The Finance Minister further noted that the 2022 Estimates are being conducted against the background of a significant 10 percent economic growth being predicted for St. Kitts and Nevis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Prime Minister Harris said, “The growth however will only come if we mobilize effectively for it, and of course the externalities are contained and they do not affect our trajectory in a negative way. The efficient and effective implementation then of our capital projects…the Basseterre High School for example, the new correctional facility, our housing programmes, infrastructure – all these are critical capital projects that will lead to more jobs and higher incomes for our people and the transformation of some of the key social and economic sectors of the country.”
At the end of the Budget Estimates Committee Meetings, the Ministry of Finance is expected to fine-tune the 2022 Budget Estimates before the Minister of Finance and the Federal Cabinet review them further. The final exercise will be the preparation of draft estimates and the Budget Address for presentation by Prime Minister Harris for final action to be taken by the Federal Parliament.