BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, June 03, 2021 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – In spite of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that continues to cripple the world’s economies, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has been able to fulfil its payroll obligations to all of its employees, including both monthly and weekly paid workers, and also its pensioners.
Equallyimportant is that this feat was accomplished without the Government laying off a single employee on account of COVID-19.
Thishas been attributed to the Team Unity Government’s astute fiscal management over its first five years in office, before the advent of the Novel Coronavirus.
Speakingat this morning’s (Thursday, June 03) press conference at the NEMA Conference Room, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, stated that his Government’s payroll supports close to 6,400 persons.
“The Total Payroll Disbursement by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis for January to May covering the categories of monthly paid employees, Government Auxiliary Employees and pensioners is a whopping $115,399,183.25. You add to that the STEP programme which employs around 3,000 persons and the bill for the year so far is another $21 million. All of this is taking place in the context of a significant decline in the inflows from taxes,” the prime minister said.
Moreover, the St. Kitts and Nevis Government has budgeted for about $35 million for the social safety net relief and public assistance for the year 2021.
PrimeMinister Harris said, “Thankfully in St. Kitts and Nevis, our citizens and residents displaced by COVID-19 have access to a range of some 20 social safety net supports including food vouchers; school meal programme; Poverty Alleviation Programme; support services for foster children; medical assistance programme distinct and a part from the free access to health care at all of our community centers for young people and for the elderly including access to dental services free of cost in St. Christopher and Nevis; assistance with school uniforms, books and examination fees paid for by this Government even in the context of a most dangerous pandemic that has turned even the most powerful country upside down.”
Itwas noted by the honourable prime minister that for the year so far, January to May, a total of $13.4 million were paid out under the Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP). Since the commencement of the programme in December 2018 until May 31, 2021, a total amount of $70.3 million was processed in PAP support.
“No other Government before us has been as generous in its support to the working poor and as astute in its fiscal management,” Prime Minister Harris said.