BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Thursday April 25, 2013 – Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas Wednesday said he remains confident that the twin island federation would record near two per cent economic growth this year.
He said the 1.9 per cent growth being predicted is reasonable based on “what we have seen from the performance of the local economy, having undergone a number of structural adjustments in changes generally and the importance revenue that is being provided especially to the leading productive sector in the economy.
“So 1.9 per cent growth, I see nothing wrong with that. It has been something that was identified by the IMF working closely with us and we believe that we can achieve this particular target,’ Dr. Douglas said on his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister”.
Dr. Douglas, who is also finance minister, is on a visit to Canada, and told listeners that the country has been involved in a debt restructuring exercise “which means that there is much less money to be used to service our internal and external debt.
“And that naturally we would continue to have surpluses in the economy, if we continue to plan in the way that we have been planning, especially over the last 18 to 24 months,” he said, noting that even if an election maybe pending “and there are surpluses, there will still be restraint in expenditure.
“We have been very much restrained as a responsible government. We don’t go over board by spending a lot of money because an election is coming up that is not what we do,” he said.
Political observers believe that the Prime Minister Douglas may call a general election ahead of the constitutional 2015 deadline and he told listeners that his administration would continue to target and prioritize the area for investment to generate employment opportunities.
“We want to make sure that the areas of our economy, which can provide the necessary support, will be getting the support from the government and that is exactly how we are targeting the sectors and economic activities that the government will support in moving forward.”
Dr. Douglas pointed to several government-funded projects in infrastructural and developmental as well as the housing programme and installation of the basic infrastructure at new sites earmarked for housing development.
“These are some of the activities that will generate economic activity and which will sustain growth in the economy in the short and medium term,” he added.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Douglas presented an EC$528.1 million (One EC dollar = US$0.37 cents) tax free budget to Parliament outlining a reduction in corporate taxes as well as extending several incentive packages that his administration had earlier implemented in a bid to stimulate the economy. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)