Tax-free Budget for 2013 says Prime Minister Douglas

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, DECEMBER 11TH 2012 (CUOPM) – With the postponement of the 2012 Budget Presentation, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has announced it will be completely tax free.

Dr. Douglas, who is also Minister of Finance, said the Ministry of Finance over the past year, has been monitoring economic conditions worldwide and worked within these parameters, in conjunction with other Ministries, to prepare the nation’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget.

“We have identified those policies, priorities, and funding levels most capable of enhancing the general stability that our nation has been able to maintain – despite the socio-economic turbulence whirling all around us – and are confident that this is a Budget with which the people of this country will be pleased. Indeed, I am able at this time to report that after several months of in-depth analysis and circumspection, the Ministry of Finance was able to prepare, for presentation to the nation, a Budget for Fiscal Year 2013 that is completely tax-free,” said the Prime Minister, who stressed “my Government’s proposed 2013 Budget will be completely tax-free.”

“My Government is keenly aware that nations, large and small are under tremendous pressure to increase public revenues via the levying of additional taxes. However, although St. Kitts and Nevis has not been one of those nations that have been crushed by the global economic crisis, Kittitians and Nevisians have nonetheless borne their share of sacrifice in order to keep our nation on an even keel. And so my Government feels a special obligation not to raise taxes in this budget,” the Prime Minister Douglas.

Dr. Douglas pointed out that the budget is one of the most critical components of the array of development tools that are employed by Governments all over the world to advance the welfare of the people they serve.

“Be assured that I am determined to protect our investment climate by ensuring that we do not go through a prolonged period of uncertainty in relation to the budget for 2013,” said Dr. Douglas.

He said that the Budget Address originally scheduled for Tuesday would have demonstrated clearly that the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis is well managed and it would have projected an early return to economic growth.

“It would have reported a reduction in debt to GDP to well under 100%, surpluses in all categories of the Fiscal Account, and the elucidation of a comprehensive development strategy that would dramatically enhance the capacity of our economy to achieve sustainable growth over the medium-term. It would also have created a multiplicity of employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, and take us closer to the realization of a more advanced society replete with opportunities for our citizens and residents to achieve even their most ambitious goals through continued creativity and commitment,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

Stating that the world is not waiting and the existing opportunities will not exist indefinitely, Dr. Douglas said that St. Kitts and Nevis “must therefore move expeditiously to remove all uncertainties that could impede our progress, and thereby ensure that our society continues to act as a magnet for inflows of investment through our reputation for peace and stability.”

Dr. Douglas gave the assurance that in dealing with the critical matters before the Nation, the overriding factor that will determine the response of his Government is the unswerving commitment to the motto of the Nation, “Country Above Self.

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