Statement by an IMF Mission to St. Kitts and NevisPress Release No. 13/26
January 29, 2013
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by George Tsibouris visited St. Kitts and Nevis during January 21–29, to undertake the fifth review of the program under the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) approved by the Fund’s Executive Board on July 27, 2011.
At the conclusion of the mission, Mr. Tsibouris made the following statement:
“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 estimate of economic growth for 2012 has been revised downwards from -0.7 to -0.9 percent, reflecting a decline in tourism in the third quarter. However, 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. Inflation has eased to 0.3 percent at end-2012.
“The authorities remain committed to the policies and objectives of their home-grown program, 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 mission 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 would like to thank the authorities for their excellent cooperation.”