Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 13, 2023 (SKNIS): In his 2024 Budget Address, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, provided a comprehensive overview of the nation’s fiscal performance and future economic plans. A portion of the address focused on the fiscal landscape of 2022, highlighting challenges and achievements, especially in debt management and economic recovery.
“Madam Speaker, a review of the Government’s fiscal performance revealed that for the 2022 fiscal year, a deficit of $99.2 million was recorded for the Overall Balance and the Primary Balance also reflected a deficit of $82.9 million,” Prime Minister Dr. Drew stated. “Total Revenue and Grants amounted to $1.12 billion, of which Recurrent Revenue was $1.1 billion and total Grants were $14.0 million.”
The Prime Minister particularly noted the significant contribution of the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program, which exceeded budget expectations by 54.9 percent. However, Tax Revenue fell short by 11.1 percent, impacted by the global economic environment, including the aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.
With respect to expenditure, Prime Minister Dr. Drew said that the total for 2022 was $1.2 billion, higher than budgeted due to various government initiatives and the Debt for Land Swap arrangement. Significant expenditure included a 10 percent salary increase for civil servants, additional salary payments, and the transition of workers from the Skills Training Empowerment Program (STEP) to the government payroll. Additionally, various income support programs and a CBI Dividend payment contributed to the expenditure.
Dr. Drew also highlighted the debt situation, noting a decrease in the Total Public Sector Debt, which stood at $1.6 billion or 60.2 percent of GDP at the end of 2022.
“This represented a decline of $6.5 million in the debt stock and a decrease of 8.9 percentage points in the Debt-to-GDP ratio. The reduction of the Debt-to-GDP ratio was the result of an expansion in economic activity for 2022 when compared to 2021,” Dr. Drew explained.
Forty percent of the debt was contracted by the Federal Government, with the remaining sixty percent owed by Public Corporations on both St. Kitts and Nevis and the Nevis Island Administration. Prime Minister Dr. Drew’s message conveyed confidence in the Federation’s economic strategies and its commitment to fiscal responsibility and sustainable growth.