BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Thursday, January 31, 2013 – A just concluded International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission to St Kitts and Nevis yields a positive assessment of the twin-island federation’s progress.
The mission, led by George Tsibouris visited over January 21 to29, was 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 Tsibouris said, despite a difficult economic environment, the overall fiscal position through end-September 2012 was stronger than expected due to buoyant nontax revenue and lower-than-expected capital outlays.
However, he also stated that 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. Still the IMF representative said they expected a pick-up in tourism and the launching of several construction projects in 2013 were expected to 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,” he said.
He added that discussions with the authorities had been positive, and the IMF was 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,” said Tsibouris. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)