St Kitts and Nevis: Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Terrance Drew, shed light on the economic condition of the country along with the hardships faced during the time of COVID and the upcoming projects which will play a pivotal role in boosting the economic sector of the nation.
While talking about the time of COVID, PM Drew stated that it still bothers him that the administration refused to open up the country when they could have opened it. He stated this was the phase where their tourism sector lagged.
He also added that at that time, they had no major project in the pipeline except for the prison project to stimulate the economy of the Federation.
He also mentioned about the time that when he became the leader of the nation, the country was already in a deficit as the nation has a debt of three hundred and thirty-three million dollars and the Development Bank, social security was already in deficit. The National Bank made its first loss in history and was not able to pay a dividend. He added that “we inherited our economy with a deficit.”
PM Terrance Drew also highlighted the tourism sector and stated that in 2021, the nation had no tourism season, but in 2022, the administration opened up the sector so that tourism could flourish. He noted that the Royal Caribbean, Icon of the Seas, brought over 7,000 passengers to the nation, resulting in more job opportunities for the locals and enhancing the economy through their main industry, i.e. tourism.
The leader of the nation said that they stimulated the economy to keep the shops open with the small business loan from the Development Bank. He added that the administration gave over 330 loans so that those small businesses could be kept open.
PM Terrance Drew stated that the economy of St Kitts and Nevis is improving but the nation is struggling with ensuring that the jobs that could be made available are offered to citizens. This is because the policies and systems in place limit the ability of certain businesses to offer positions to their full extent. To mitigate this issue, the Prime Minister has asked the Labour Department to pursue a new approach which allows the nation to make use of the full potential of its job market.
He asserted, “I’m asking our people to be ready to go back to work. And we will see that growth. Because during this year, we are going to really go after a lot of capital projects.”
He added these projects will play a crucial role in creating a huge number of employment opportunities for the citizens of St Kitts and Nevis.
While emphasizing the upcoming projects, PM Drew said “We are going to do our hotel hospital this year, which is a $60 million dollar project.” He also talked about the solar plant, which will commence in about two to three months with an investment of $85 million dollars.
He also remarked that Saudis who are collaborating with St Kitts and Nevis in their geothermal project will visit next week to ascertain the project so that they can move ahead with their project.
The building of the model homes will be finished by next week, and 200 qualified people will be allotted houses.
“Just this year alone, we think we can surpass what the government built in the seven years. And if you look at the homes, they are of good quality. When we launch the homes, we expect you to be there so that you can inspect the home, look at the home, and determine the quality of the home,” stated PM Terrance Drew.
He also highlighted the fact that St Kitts and Nevis has achieved the position of being the fourth largest economy in the Caribbean which is a significant economic milestone for the nation as it looks to progress into the future as a sustainable economy.