Entitled ‘Putting People First in the Pursuit of Sustainable Development,’ the budget reflects the significant economic achievements of the Federation, and reinforces the innovative approach the country has adopted to create a sustainable future.
The St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme is key to supporting the Federation – a source of foreign direct investment that plays a prominent role in budget allocations.
In 2016, “most of [St Kitts and Nevis’] non-tax revenue was derived from fees associated with the CBI Programme,” and the Programme’s Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) was one of the country’s “main contributors of capital grants,” providing essential funding for projects ranging from infrastructure development to sporting events.
In 2017, the CBI Programme boosted income and growth, particularly in the construction sector, which grew by 8.8 percent in the first half of the year. CBI investments facilitated high-end developments such as the Park Hyatt St Kitts, the Heldon Estate, the King’s Pavilion Hotel, Koi, and T-Loft Raddison, which in turn boosted tourism and created demand for local agricultural produce.
CBI contributions to the SIDF resulted in the expansion of sites such as Port Zante, the construction of homes under the Funding for the Realisation of Economic Empowerment through Subsidised Housing (FREESH) Programme, and several people-centred projects, such as the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Enhancement Project.
A pace-setter for industry excellence, the St Kitts and Nevis CBI Programme has recently incentivised investment by creating a temporary route to citizenship: the Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF). Under this option, single applicants and families of up to four individuals can apply for citizenship after a one-time US$150,000 contribution, exclusive of due diligence fees.
Available only for potential citizens who submit their application by 30 March 2018, the HRF will be an important source of income for the Federation for the purposes of reconstruction and infrastructural renovation.
Through its “Platinum” CBI Programme, St Kitts and Nevis seeks to attract only quality applicants. In pursuit of this goal, it has restructured its Citizenship by Investment Unit, become the first nation to adopt an online “Citizenship Application Management System,” and solidified its due diligence processes, hiring specialist firms with regional expertise and forging partnerships with governments for the exchange of information on applicants, their funds, and their families.
It is no surprise that St Kitts and Nevis garnered praise as the best-performing nation in four out of seven categories of Private Wealth Magazine’s CBI Index, and as the World’s Most Innovative Investment Immigration Programme at the Global Citizen Awards Ceremony in Russia.
Speaking of the growth trend the country is currently enjoying, Prime Minister Harris, who estimated a 2 percent GDP growth for 2017, said that St Kitts and Nevis is projected to reach “an average expansion of 3.5 percent over the medium term of 2018-2020.”
Becoming a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis means becoming part of a nation that can look forward to a 2018 of economic achievement, bolstered by a successful CBI Programme. Dr Harris said that the Government was “keen to more fully embrace the St Kitts and Nevis diaspora including [its] economic citizens” – people he described as a “source of talent, financial and other resources necessary to help this country grow and develop into a model sustainable twin island state.”