LONDON, April 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As the smallest country in the Western hemisphere, the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis has so far dealt well with the pandemic. Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris told BBC World News this week what the small twin-island nation is doing to keep abreast. The government introduced more restrictive social measures and pledged a 120-million stimulus package to protect businesses, jobs and the economy.
Speaking to BBC's Tim Willcox, the Prime Minister explained that St Kitts and Nevis acted early, introduced night curfews, and turned away cruise ships. As a small Caribbean nation with an established cruise industry, these measures had a significant impact on jobs and the economy. Despite the knock-on effect on tourism, Dr Harris says the country has sufficient reserves to sustain the economy and support all those affected.
"Tourism is a large but not the only segment of the economy," PM Harris explains. "Because we have been managing the country well, we developed a significant financial surplus and we were able therefore to do a stimulus in the region of 120 million dollars, targeted at the victims and set in a framework to get the country back to work soonest," Dr Harris says.
Approximately 20% of St Kitts and Nevis's economy is based on its Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme, Foreign Minister Mark Brantley previously said. Established in 1984, the CBI Programme has since built a reputation as the "Platinum Standard" brand. Only after thorough due diligence checks, investors can make a minimum US$150,000 contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund and be awarded with St Kitts and Nevis' valuable citizenship.
Despite being small, the country has one of the strongest fiscal performances in the entire Latin America and Caribbean region. It is also very well-connected for a nation of only 55,000, who, in normal times, can freely visit two-thirds of the world. Investors lucky enough to be approved for St Kitts and Nevis's CBI Programme enjoy the same privileges, except for the right to vote.
The government used CBI funds to create the Poverty Alleviation Programme to support low-income households. Earlier this week, they announced that they are also reducing corporate income tax for employers who retain 75% of their workforce. They also waived VAT, import duty and/or customs service charge for a series of pandemic-related products.
SOURCE CS Global Partners