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Nevis Island's Premier and Minister of Finance Vance Amory said on Monday, August 12, 2013 that his government has reduced the debt of the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) by some USD3m in the past six months.
Premier Amory, who was at the time delivering the NIA’s Fiscal Review for the first half of 2013 at a press conference, noted that the debt of the NIA as of June 2013 stood at USD333m, which was a marginal USD3.5m less than the USD336.5m at which it stood in December 2012.
According to the Finance Minister, for the past six months, the NIA had been working to improve the management of the public debt through the strengthening of its debt management system. He said his administration had concluded debt restructuring negotiations with the Social Security Board and the Bank of Nevis and thanked them for acceding to the NIA’s requests in terms of having favorable consideration for the amounts which were owed to them.
"In the case of the Bank of Nevis, we were able to restructure nearly USD50m dollars in debt by having the interest rate reduced from an average of 8.25 percent to 3.5 percent and also extending the maturity from 15 years to 35 years. What that does is it reduces the pressure in terms of the repayment of that debt not only in terms of the interest rate but gives us a longer period to repay the debt and this eases the immediate pressure on our finances.
"Similarly, we were able to restructure about USD12.5m of our debt to Social Security by extending the maturity from 15 years to 40 years and having the interest rate reduced from 7 percent to 3 percent for the first five years and then graduating to a 5.5 percent rate of interest," he said.
Premier Amory also noted that the NIA is presently in negotiations with the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank Ltd. to complete the arrangement made by the former administration to have lands sold to cover the whole or part of the debt owed to the institution.
According to Premier Amory, when the total debt restructuring is completed the NIA is expected to see a monthly reduction of at least USD1m in terms of the savings which the Administration could apply to other economic activity in the country.
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