Dr Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis.
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BASSETERRE – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Timothy Harris will this week seek Parliamentary approval for just over $700 million of expenditure against the Consolidated Fund in order to implement policies and programmes that can help to further stimulate the economy in 2018.
This will be done on Wednesday when he presents the highly anticipated Draft Estimates for 2018 after which the Appropriation Bill for 2018 will be debated.
The Appropriation Bill provides for the provision of services of St Christopher (St Kitts) and Nevis for the upcoming financial year.
During his November 29, 2017 press conference Harris stated that his Team Unity administration was once again expected to present a balanced budget to the National Assembly.
The Team Unity administration has presented surplus budgets in 2015 and in 2016 with no new taxes.
Harris further noted that up to the September 30, 2017, the fiscal accounts reflected a surplus on the three principle accounts – the recurrent account, the overall account and the primary account. These surpluses assisted the Government in making a record back-to-back payment of a 13-month bonus to public sector workers.
“The recurrent account, up to September 30  was doing 40.2 per cent better than the budget for 2017; overall balance was up over the budget for 2017, and our primary balance recorded a surplus of some 331 per cent relative to the budget,” the Finance Minister stated, noting that this is a reflection of the strong fiscal performance of the federal Government.
The Government of St Kitts and Nevis has received commendation from several credible and reputable institutions including the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on its handling of the country’s fiscal resources.
Prime Minister Harris said, “In keeping with our track record, we are expecting the historic budget will be tax-free, notwithstanding the damage and provision in the Budget for the reconstruction works on several of the sectors impacted [by Hurricanes Irma and Maria], such as the Old Road Bay project, the fisheries project, [and] the resurfacing of our Island main road.”
Last year on December 7 Harris presented his Team Unity administration’s 2017 Budget, which allocated EC$712.9 million to both recurrent and capital expenditures. (SKNIS)