Gov’t stewardship yields years of economic growth

Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 16, 2020 (SKNIS): The year 2019 saw the St. Kitts and Nevis economy positively expand with projections by the Department of Statistics pointing to a 2.9 percent growth rate. The trend is expected to continue this year with approximately 3.5 percent projected for the period 2020 – 2022.

“This year will be the 6th year in a row (2015 – 2020) in which positive economic growth will be realized in St. Kitts and Nevis under Team Unity,” Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr the Honourable Timothy Harris, reported on Wednesday (January 15, 2020) during his first monthly conference of 2020.

The prime minister noted that several key developments from last year are clear indicators of the robust local economy.

One such indicator is the figures collected by the government’s two major revenue collecting agencies – the Inland Revenue Department and Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Department.

“Inland Revenue Department collected a record $266 million in 2019, its best collection to date while the Customs and Excise Department collected $191 million – its largest collection since 2009,” Prime Minister Harris indicated.

Additionally, on December 13 and 21, the 17 percent Value Added Tax was reduced to 5 percent on a wide cross-section of qualifying goods and products. The popular VAT Rate Days, as they are commonly known, saw many companies running complementary promotions including paying the 5 percent reduced VAT for consumers. Such was the case for most car sale companies.

“Our country recorded sales of 219 vehicles at a cost of approximately $21 million – up from the $17 million recorded for vehicle sales in 2018. This is a staggering 23.5 percent increase in dollar sales for vehicles,” Dr. Harris stated.

Other factors highlighted by the prime minister included a record approval of 658 business licences in 2019, while the manufacturing enclave sector produced 69,695 tons of merchandise last year compared to the 25,090 tons in 2018. This represented a 169 percent growth in manufacturing exports year on year.

Prime Minister Harris said that he was confident that future generations will look back and say – “2020 is when St. Kitts and Nevis really stepped up.”

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