Prime Minister’s Message
As we prepare for fiscal year 2020, it is heart-warming to reflect on the progress we have made over the past five (5) years. With the Ministry of Finance spearheading the implementation of the macroeconomic strategy we have been able to achieve success in many areas of our development agenda. The Ministry of Finance has contributed significantly to the good track record we are building in terms of making a difference in the lives of our citizens and will continue to play a central role in the Government’s quest to move St. Kitts and Nevis forward. It is our hope that the various policies, programmes and projects proposed for implementation under the 2020 Recurrent and Capital Estimates would help to advance the mandates of the Ministry of Finance, and by extension the Government as a whole, during the coming year. The Government has realised the benefits of good fiscal discipline and therefore would strive to ensure that the decisions taken are in line with the commitment to keep the fiscal affairs of the country strong. In this regard, the Ministry of Finance will continue to promote the prudent management of the Government’s fiscal activities. The focus for 2020 would be to continue to strengthen public financial management and implement the new Public Sector Debt Management Strategy which covers the period 2018 to 2020. These are critical elements for maintaining a resilient fiscal situation that is necessary for moving our country forward.
For the second consecutive year, we have been successful in maintaining the Debt to GDP ratio below the 60% target set by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. St. Kitts and Nevis is not only the first country in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union to have achieved this target but, to date, remains the only one to do so. We have exceeded expectations and are making a difference in fiscal and debt management here at home and in the Currency Union. Performance in the economy is also noteworthy as St. Kitts and Nevis is also set to record positive growth for the fifth consecutive year. According to the Department of Statistics, the economy is expected to record growth of 2.9% by the end of 2019. Based on the Revenue and Expenditure plans being proposed for the Government in 2020, we are projecting a Recurrent Account Surplus of $183.7 million, Overall Surplus at $43.9 million and the Primary Surplus at $63.7 million.
In considering important policy matters, the Government is still committed to the establishment of the Growth and Resilience Fund using a portion of the resources saved in the Consolidated Fund. In 2020, we would complete the ongoing work to make this a reality. We would also look more closely at our options for the introduction of a fiscal rule which would help to strengthen the fiscal framework and improve the chances of the Government maintaining a good fiscal record over the medium to long term. Beyond the fiscal and economic outlook, we intend also to focus on promoting enhanced management to ensure better results from our investments across the various Government Ministries and Departments. We would want to encourage a cultural change in the Public Sector to focus more on results and outcomes of the numerous programmes and projects rather than paying attention only to the activities themselves. Over the last several years, the Ministry of Finance has led the Government’s business and response to international tax governance and transparency issues. These issues are becoming more intense and voluminous. As a responsible jurisdiction operating in the international arena, St. Kitts and Nevis is expected to respond appropriately to issues raised and to adhere to international standards particularly as they relate to financial services and tax matters. These are issues that we cannot afford to ignore. In 2020, the Ministry would therefore seek to introduce some organizational changes that would assist the Government to give sustained attention to the various issues relevant to our country’s international commitments.
The strategic plan for the Ministry of Finance is aligned with the Finance Administration Act, the Tax Administration and Procedures Act, the Customs and Excise Act, and all other relevant regulations and policies of the Government. I now take this opportunity to thank the staff of the Ministry of Finance, including the Accountant General’s Department, the Inland Revenue Department, Customs and Excise Department and Financial Intelligence Unit for their continued hard work, commitment and dedication without which successes achieved in 2019 would not have been possible.
Dr the Honourable Timothy Harris
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
According to the Saint Christopher and Nevis (Mutual Exchange of Information on Taxation Matters) Act, 2009, the Financial Secretary is the Tax Co-operation Authority (Competent authority) for the purposes of exchange of information on taxation matters between the Federation of St. Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis and other jurisdictions.
The Competent Authority is responsible for:
i. Executing requests for information for tax purposes;
ii. Ensuring compliance with TIEAs and DTCs;
iii. Advising the Minister of Finance on matters relating to any proposals or agreements for the provision of information in tax matters and;
iv. Making determinations as to any costs and the apportionment of such costs relating to or arising from requests for information.