Above: St Kitts (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The International Monetary Fund lowered its growth estimate for St Kitts and Nevis in 2012 from -0.7 percent to -0.9 percent, but an economic recovery is reportedly on the way for 2013.
While the revised estimate reflected a decline in tourism in the third quarter, “an expected pick-up in tourism and the launching of several construction projects in 2013 will contribute to a recovery in activity,” the fund said in a statement following a visit by an IMF mission led by George Tsibouris.
That will work out to a projected growth rate of 2 percent.
The mission visited St Kitts and Nevis from Jan. 21 to Jan. 29 to undertake the fifth review of the programme under the Stand-By Arrangement approved by the Fund’s Executive Board in July 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,” Tsibouris said. “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 held talks with Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas, new Nevis Premier Vance Amory and other officials during the trip.
“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, ” Tsibouris said. “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.”