Basseterre, Dec. 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Honourable Dr Terrance Drew, delivered a comprehensive analysis of the nation’s fiscal performance and outlined future economic plans during his 2024 Budget Address.
2024 Budget Address Theme: Marching Forward on the Journey to a Sustainable Island State
The central theme of the 2024 budget speech is “Marching Forward on the Journey to a Sustainable Island State.” The budget address, presented on 13 December 2023, underscored the government’s commitment to transforming into a sustainable island state.
Seven Pillars of Sustainability
Honourable Dr Drew outlined the seven pillars forming the foundation of a sustainable island state:
- Water Security
- Energy Transition
- Food Security
- Sustainability Industry
- Sustainable Settlements
- Circular Economy
- Social Protection
These pillars serve as the focal points for the 2024 budget address, laying the groundwork for sustainable development in St Kitts and Nevis.
St Kitts and Nevis’ Achievements in 2023
Honourable Dr Drew acknowledged the achievements in tourism that received international recognition, positioning St Kitts and Nevis as a prominent destination in the Eastern Caribbean. The 2024 Budget Address reflects the government’s commitment to sustainable development, fiscal responsibility, and the well-being of St Kitts and Nevis’ citizens. The outlined initiatives and improvements aim to strengthen the nation’s economy, infrastructure, and overall prosperity.
Fiscal Landscape of St Kitts and Nevis
Overview of 2022 Fiscal Performance
Honourable Dr Drew highlighted the 2022 fiscal landscape, emphasising challenges and achievements, particularly in debt management and economic recovery.
Revenue and Grants for 2022-2023
In the past fiscal year, a deficit of US$99.2 million for the Overall Balance and a Primary Balance deficit of EC$82.9 million were reported. Total Revenue and Grants amounted to EC$1.12 billion, with Recurrent Revenue at EC$1.1 billion and Grants totalling EC$14.0 million.
St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme
Honourable Dr Drew highlighted the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme’s remarkable contribution, exceeding budget expectations by 54.9 per cent. Honourable Dr Drew emphasised the importance of supporting the CBI Programme for sustainable economic development.
The CBI Programme is managed with transparency, accountability, and a strategic vision, and contributes significantly to the economic, social, and environmental well-being of St Kitts and Nevis, ensuring a more prosperous and resilient future.
Government 2022 Expenditure
Honourable Dr Drew detailed that the 2022 expenditure surpassed the budget, attributed to various government initiatives, income support programmes, and a CBI Dividend payment.
A notable decrease in the Total Public Sector Debt to EC$1.6 billion or 60.2 per cent of (Gross Domestic Product) GDP was highlighted, reflecting a decline of EC$6.5 million and an 8.9 per cent point decrease in the Debt-to-GDP ratio. Honourable Dr Drew credited this reduction to the expansion in economic activity for 2022 compared to 2021.
St Kitts and Nevis Pension Plan for 2024
Honourable Dr Drew announced the imminent launch of a Contributory Pension Plan, aimed at enhancing the welfare and financial security of public sector employees. The plan is strategically designed for a secure and sustainable pension system.
Honourable Dr Drew provided historical context, acknowledging the role of the St Kitts and Nevis Labour Party Administration in 2012, which laid the groundwork for the Contributory Pension Plan.
Government Commitment to Kittians and Nevisians
Honourable Dr Drew reiterated the government’s commitment to improving citizens’ lives, expressing confidence in the Contributory Pension Plan’s role in securing a prosperous future for public sector employees.
Improvement of Minimum Wage for Civil Service from 2024
Effective 1 January 2024, the minimum wage will rise from EC$9 per hour to EC$10.75 per hour, reflecting the government’s dedication to improving the financial well-being of minimum wage earners. The decision to increase the minimum wage resulted from recommendations by the National Minimum Wage Advisory Committee, led by Ambassador Sam Condor, which diligently reviewed the minimum wage through consultations.
Honourable Dr Drew assured an additional increase on 1 July 2025, taking the hourly rate to EC$12.50 and the weekly rate to EC$500.00. The economic benefits of a higher minimum wage were highlighted, empowering workers and stimulating local businesses.
Secretary of St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme Government of St. Kitts and Nevis 00 (1-869) 467-1474 email@example.com