The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

The East­ern Caribbean Cen­tral Bank (ECCB) has com­mended St. Kitts and Ne­vis, un­der the lead­er­ship of the Team Unity Ad­min­is­tra­tion, on its out­stand­ing eco­nomic per­for­mance and lead­er­ship in the sub-re­gion.

This came when ECCB of­fi­cials, led by Gover­nor Ti­mothy An­toine, met with the Fed­eral Cab­i­net at Gov­ern­ment Head­quar­ters on Mon­day, July 10, 2017.

Dur­ing that meet­ing Gover­nor An­toine up­dated the Cab­i­net mem­bers on the so­cio-eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion of the East­ern Caribbean Cur­rency Union (ECCU), with a fo­cus on St. Kitts and Ne­vis’ econ­omy.

In that meet­ing the ECCB Gover­nor stated that the cur­rency union is pro­jected to con­tinue on a path of growth in 2017-2018.

It was also noted that St. Kitts and Ne­vis re­mains an above-av­er­age eco­nomic per­former in the con­text of the ECCU, and is pro­jected to achieve the cur­rency union’s debt to GDP tar­get of five per­cent within a short pe­riod of time.

The bank­ing of­fi­cial fur­ther stated that the Fed­er­a­tion’s debt to GDP ra­tio, which stands at 63.2 per­cent, is the low­est among the in­de­pen­dent states within the cur­rency union.

The ECCB re­ported that the bank­ing sec­tor in St. Kitts and Ne­vis re­mains sta­ble while the non-per­form­ing loans are on a down­ward trend.

Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter of Fi­nance, Dr. the Hon­ourable Ti­mothy Har­ris was en­cour­aged to learn that St. Kitts and Ne­vis, in terms of credit to the pri­vate sec­tor, has out­per­formed sev­eral other mem­ber states, not­ing that “this is im­por­tant as the pri­vate sec­tor is looked upon as the en­gine for eco­nomic growth”.

The East­ern Caribbean Cen­tral Bank Gover­nor also wel­comed the $72-mil­lion in­vest­ment in Na­tional Se­cu­rity for the year 2017, which rep­re­sents the largest bud­getary al­lo­ca­tion ever given to that min­istry and the in­crease in vis­i­bil­ity by law en­force­ment agen­cies through­out St. Kitts and Ne­vis.

Gover­nor An­toine also lauded the com­mit­ment of the Gov­ern­ment to es­tab­lish a Growth and Re­silience Fund to man­age the fis­cal sav­ings from Cit­i­zen­ship by In­vest­ment in­flows and of­fered tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance in this re­gard.

Look­ing ahead, Mr. An­toine rec­om­mended the use of less cash trans­ac­tions in St. Kitts and Ne­vis, while call­ing for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of more elec­tronic pay­ment sys­tems that could re­sult in lower bank fees.

Ac­com­pa­ny­ing Gover­nor An­toine at Mon­day’s meet­ing were Econ­o­mist in the Re­search Depart­ment, Mr. Kevin Woods, and Se­nior Ex­am­iner in the bank’s Su­per­vi­sion Depart­ment, Mr. Mi­c­los Swift.

St. Kitts and Ne­vis’ Fi­nan­cial Sec­re­tary, Mrs. Hi­lary Hazel, was also present dur­ing Mon­day’s ses­sion.

ECCB of­fi­cials meet­ing with Fed­eral Cab­i­net.

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