LONDON, July 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — On July 6th, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a Concluding Statement on the impact of the pandemic on the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis’ economy. The Statement, which consists of preliminary findings from an official visit to the nation, determined the essential role the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme played in providing capital and keeping the country afloat during a global lockdown.
The Statement also detailed Prime Minster Timothy Harris’ government’s timely actions that kept domestic infections in 2020 the lowest in the Western Hemisphere. The IMF noted that after quick closures of borders to protect the nation’s population, the government also introduced tax waivers, deferrals and incentives, and provided unemployment benefits to affected insured workers to mitigate the pandemic’s impact effectively.
Most notably, CBI helped fund the Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP). PAP gave low-income households a monthly stipend of $500 and has supported thousands of families across the islands.
“St Kitts and Nevis entered the Covid-19 pandemic from a position of fiscal strength following nearly a decade of budget surpluses. A significant part of the large CBI revenues were prudently saved, reducing public debt to below the regional debt target of 60 percent of GDP and supporting accumulation of large government deposits,” the report said.
CBI is a programme that allows foreign investors and their families second citizenship in return for a contribution to St Kitts and Nevis’ economy. The revenue generated is used to develop social initiatives like healthcare and education and saved for a crisis like environmental disasters.
The IMF concluded the Statement with the encouragement to further optimise the CBI sector: “[CBI] savings would allow reducing public debt to around 40 percent of GDP and rebuilding deposits to close to a quarter of GDP by the end of the decade, which would provide a significant buffer against both macro-economic and natural disaster shocks.”
Applicants who pass the CBI Unit’s criminal and financial checks are granted citizenship for life and are awarded the right to live and work in St Kitts and Nevis. They are also eligible to apply for the country’s coveted passport, allowing holders visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to nearly 160 destinations.
Under St Kitts and Nevis’ Agreement with the IMF, the IMF has the mandate to exercise surveillance over its members’ economic, financial and exchange rate policies to ensure the effective operation of the international monetary system.
SOURCE CS Global Partners