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St Kitts and Nevis Debt On Downward Path

by Amanda Banks,, London

17 September 2012

Saint Kitts and Nevis is poised to achieve a landmark milestone in its debt reduction efforts, with its debt to gross domestic product ratio set to fall below 100%, from peaks above 200%.

Addressing a recent Cabinet meeting, the island's Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Denzil Douglas said that following an extensive debt restructuring process the island's debt had been further reduced from 156% to 131%, and said it would likely to fall into double figures in the near term as a result of ongoing budget consolidation efforts.

In 2009, St Kitts and Nevis had the most significant public debt among its Caribbean peers, at 185% of gross domestic product, and the third largest in the world as a percentage of the economy. Following the introduction of a value-added tax and excise tax reforms in November 2010, and the streamlining of import duty exemptions and the introduction of an environmental levy, the government has managed to make inroads into the debt problem and the International Monetary Fund has consistently reported that the territory is making significant strides towards fiscal consolidation under a 36-month financial assistance programme.

Speaking after the briefing, the island's Minister of Information, Nigel Carty hailed the "herculean effort that has been exerted to bring great relief to the country's fiscal position at such an economically challenging time".

TAGS: environment | Finance | tax | value added tax (VAT) | fiscal policy | international financial centres (IFC) | excise duty | offshore | Saint Kitts and Nevis | import duty | tax reform

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