IMF revises upwards its economic growth projections for St. Kitts and Nevis

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised upward its growth projections for the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis for 2011.

“While there are clear a sign that the economy has bottomed out and the recovery remains fragile, the good news is that the Four Seasons Resort is likely to reopen and that should boost economic activity,” said Alfred Schipke, Division Chief in the Caribbean 1 Division, Western Hemisphere Department of the IMF at a news conference on Monday.

He said the IMF has updated its growth projections for 2011 from 0.5 percent and is looking at a 1.5 percent of GDP.

Mr. Schipke said an IMF Team has been in the twin-island Federation over last week looking at the economic performance and to assess 2011 and has also been holding discussions with stakeholders on the policies that the government has put in place and are considering in the new year or the medium term.

He said the findings of the IMF Team were presented Monday to St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and a presentation made to the Cabinet both on the broader global and regional economic outlook since that is important for a country that depends highly developments in the rest of the world and also on the specifics on St. Kitts and Nevis.

“We commended them for the measures that they have already put into place. There were measures on the revenue side and some measures on the expenditure side that should yield a positive result especially from 2011 onward,” said Mr. Schipke.

He disclosed there were initial discussions on policies for 2011 and going forward.

“One of the views is that this is a comprehensive programme that covers a number of important areas from a responsible fiscal policy to the rationalisation of the public sector and potentially some areas that would alleviate the interest burden and all of that should facilitate the country being placed on a new trajectory, that will facilitate a dramatic reduction in debt levels and by doing so create the conditions of confidence and strong private sector-led growth,” Mr. Schipke told the news conference.

He said there was consensus on the broader issues that the country is facing but also on the direction that the policies that need to be implemented.

(left ro right) Financial Secretary, Mrs. Janet Harris; Senior Economist, Caribbean 1 Division, Western Hemisphere, IMF, Koffie Nassar; Division Chief, Caribbean 1 Division, Western Hemisphere Department, IMF, Alfred Schipke and Antigua-based Resident IMF Representative for the ECCU, Mr. Wendell Samuel
(Photo by Erasmus Williams)

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