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  3. Nevis 2007 Budget Has Deficit Of $10 Million

Nevis 2007 Budget Has Deficit Of $10 Million

by Leroy Baker,, New York

02 January 2007

Premier of Nevis and Minster of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration Joseph Parry presented a $164m budget in December, calling it a budget of confidence and people empowerment. The budget predicts an overall deficit of $10m.

According to Mr. Parry, his five month Administration had inherited many challenges and problems but nonetheless would take a positive approach to development and would empower its people to become more self reliant and independent and thereby reduce the burden on the state.

Mr. Parry pointed to two major areas of concern; the high cost of debt, which he said was the most critical challenge inherited by his administration and the cost of living in Nevis.

He blamed the debt on the former administration’s reckless expenditure which generated a large overall deficit of $300 million over12 of the 14 years it was in office. The debt he said, had been placed on the shoulders of Nevisians, which his administration now had the task to control and rectify.

Elections in June on the island of Nevis, part of the twin island federation of St Kitts and Nevis, saw the Nevis Reformation Party win three of the five seats in the island's assembly, meaning that Joseph Parry replaced former Nevisian leader, Vance Amory of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM).

The CCM had been in power in Nevis for the past fourteen years and was the party most closely linked with seceding from neighbouring St Kitts. Nevis came close to seceding in a 1998 referendum, falling just short of the required two-thirds majority. During the election, Vance Amory said that independence for his island was still a goal of his government.

Following a review visit to Nevis in October, the IMF said that the island's economy is moving in the right direction, with 2006 results set to better those achieved in 2005.

Budget Analyst in the Nevis Island Administration Ms. Hazel Brandy disclosed as much to a pre-estimate budget meeting of government officials during preparation of the 2007 Budget. She attributed the improvements to a rigorous restructuring process at the Inland Revenue Department and the Customs Division which resulted in a significant increase in the revenue collected.

The IMF team, meeting the new Nevis administration for the first time since it was installed after July elections, said it was concerned about debt reduction and debt control.

Nevis has created separate 'offshore' legislation parallel to Federation legislation, and believes that its economic progress has been due to having greater control over its own affairs.

St Kitts and Nevis are islands in the Caribbean Sea, about one-third of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago. The two volcanic islands, which are renowned for their beautiful mountain scenery, total 261 sq km in area and are separated by a three-km-wide channel called The Narrows; Nevis Peak sits in the center of its almost circular namesake island and its ball shape complements that of its sister island.

The Federation of St Kitts and Nevis finally attained full political independence in 1983 and, in order to relieve the anxiety of Nevisians, Nevis acquired autonomy within the Federation, together with its own Legislature and Cabinet.

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