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Press Release No. 05/269
December 09, 2005
International Monetary Fund
700 19th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20431 USA

Statement by IMF Deputy Managing Director Agustín Carstens at the Conclusion of his Visit to
St. Kitts and Nevis

Mr. Agustín Carstens, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today in Basseterre at the conclusion of his visit to St. Kitts and Nevis:

"I had extensive discussions with Prime Minister Denzil Douglas and other officials on the economic situation in St. Kitts and Nevis on my first visit to this country and the ECCU region.

"Our discussions centered on the authorities' plans following their courageous decision to close the state-owned sugar industry. The transition out of sugar will be a major challenge. The meetings with the authorities covered comprehensively the three major areas that a transition strategy will have to tackle: helping the displaced workers find new jobs; resolving the status of the sugar company's debt; and privatization of the sugar lands. I trust that the authorities will design a strategy that proves to be effective in all these three areas.

"I commend the fiscal measures that have been taken recently. Revenue collection has strengthened and the government has signaled the need for expenditure control. Further fiscal consolidation — combined with financial sector reforms and a well-designed and well — executed strategy for transition out of sugar — could truly enhance the country's long-term growth potential."


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