Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr. M. Drew, consulted with experts during the COVID-19 pandemic. These consultations resulted in lifting restrictions which positively impacted the country’s tourism sector.
During his most recent national address, the Prime Minister expressed his gratitude on social media towards citizens supporting in the government. He also shared the latest economic developments and SKNLP administration achievements from August 2022 to August 2023.
Government of St Kitts and Nevis’ achievements in the past year
Growth in the education sector
The government of St Kitts and Nevis significantly reduced student loan interest rates from 9 per cent to 5 per cent at the Development Bank. Additionally, student loans received interest-free debt relief for the first time in a little over four years.
Subsequently, a ‘Graduate Finance’ Project was implemented with ECD$15,000 credit for students with loans at the Development Bank as well as other banks. This includes an additional ECD$25,000 grant for students applying and studying relevant undergraduate or graduate programmes.
Sports and recreation
During the last fiscal, the St Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Sports, under leadership of Samal Duggins, has initiated numerous initiatives, such as:
Transforming the Lambert’s playing field to attract more citizens to become proactive in sports activities on the field, and
A restoration project in the Warner Park Cricket Stadium to host international games and support the growing tourism sector in the country.
Indigenous financial institutions in the country now provide zero down payments for mortgages. This creates possibilities for homeowners to qualify to purchase their dream home.
The government subsidised the national Fuel Variation Charge (FVC), and the cost of fuel and electricity subsided to ECD$9 million per month.
St Kitts and Nevis CBI Programme indicated economic growth and the dividends were paid out to CBI investors in December 2022 and in June 2023.
During the first year of the new SKNLP administration in office, the government received the highest tax collection through inland revenue, despite no tax increases and new taxes.
Small businesses in the country affected by the Covid-19 pandemic received ECD$20,000 in Small Business Loans from the Development Bank.
The government were able to reinstate Gratuity payouts for retired Government Auxiliary Employees (CAE) with a minimum of 10 years of service.
Growth in the tourism sector
There is an increase of different airlines to the destination with Caribbean Airlines, InterCaribbean Airlines and JetBlue Airlines to the country’s airlift.
The “Venture Deeper” tourism brand campaign was launched to diversify tourism initiatives.
Honourable Dr. Drew and his administration welcomed the world’s largest cruise liner, Wonder of the Seas, to its port.
Extended discounted value-added tax days to three times a year – in Easter, Summer and Christmas festive seasons.
All duty-free import of food up to 400lbs, including a duty-free allowance of US$200 for travellers and non-commercial importers.
Changes in the country’s legislation
The Government of St Kitts and Nevis improved its good governance through implementing changes to laws being passed to support and protect the country’s diverse communities, which include:
A Domestic Violence Act to protect women, men and children who are exposed and affected to domestic violence.
Amendments to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank legislation, and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) Agreement Act for the country to access ECD$1.5 billion of capital to develop projects in electricity and energy, water and various other sectors.
Housing project launched
The government has committed to build 2,400 affordable hurricane resilient smart homes in four years. These will be built in four phases. Each phase will construct 600 homes. This includes a water tank and a rooftop water heater in each home.
Growth in the healthcare sector
Honourable Dr. Drew added that there are healthcare initiatives to provide essential healthcare to disadvantaged children through paying for emergency overseas medical care. This initiative alone saved over 30 sick children in the twin federation.
These accomplishments were realised by crucial steps to preserve the economic and tourism sectors. The St Kitts and Nevis economy ricocheted in the last year. There’s been significant growth in the agriculture, financial services, and tourism sectors.
St Kitts and Nevis has advanced their renowned CBI Programme. New regulations will maintain competitiveness in the Caribbean and in the rest of the world.
The government emphasised job creation in the twin island nation and permanent employment opportunities for the country’s people. These subsequently boost the economy and significantly improve the livelihood of citizens.
The vision of the Government of St Kitts and Nevis is to evolve the country into a Sustainable Island State. They plan to do this by underpinning their governance with integrity, transparency, and accountability. All highlighting their commitment to build a stronger economy and empower local citizens.