Although revising downwards the estimate of economic growth for 2012 from -0.7 to -0.9 percent, reflecting a decline in tourism in the third quarter, the IMF said an expected pick-up in tourism and the launching of several construction projects in 2013 will contribute to a recovery in activity, with economic growth projected at nearly 2 percent.
It said inflation has eased to 0.3 percent at end-2012
An IMF mission led by Mr. George Tsibouris visited St. Kitts and Nevis during January 21-29, to undertake the fifth review of the programme under the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) approved by the Fund’s Executive Board on July 27, 2011.
“The focus of the mission was to assess recent economic developments and program performance at end-September 2012, along with progress in structural reforms; and to discuss policies and the outlook for 2013. Despite a difficult economic environment, the overall fiscal position through end-September 2012 was stronger than expected due to buoyant non‑tax revenue and lower-than-expected capital outlays,” the IMF Team said in a news release.
It stated that the authorities in St. Kitts and Nevis remain committed to the policies and objectives of their home-grown programme, aimed at consolidating public finances and putting public debt on a sustainable path.
“Discussions with the authorities have been positive, and the IMF is fully committed to working with them as they proceed with the finalization of the 2013 budget and supportive policies. It is hoped that these discussions would be concluded as soon as practicable. At that point, the mission would be in a position to recommend to the IMF Executive Board the completion of the fifth review under the SBA,” the IMF said.
The mission said it held meetings with Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, the Premier of Nevis, the Hon. Vance Amory, senior officials of the Ministries of Finance, Trade, Tourism, and Sustainable Development, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), and representatives of the private sector.
The mission has expressed thanks the authorities for their excellent cooperation.