ST KITTS AND NEVIS: Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis addresses public on CBI Programme changes

As published on: gulfnews.com, Tuesday 20 February, 2024. 

Dr Terrance Drew, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, and his cabinet answered questions regarding the government’s recent economic decisions, from the public, in a press conference held on 13 February 2024.

The public raised questions about the St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme, including the number of citizenships approved by the Government and Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU).

CBI and the St Kitts and Nevis Economy
Dr Drew elaborated on the CBI Programme and the changes made to the programme’s regulations, to ensure the highest security in the CBI Programme.

The government continues to take significant steps to meet international partners’ expectations, including increasing the minimum contribution amounts across all of the investment options, an additional layer of due diligence security, a board has been established in the CBI Programme, and introducing an International Security Officer, he said.

The International Security Officer is responsible for ensuring that the individuals participating in the programme remain law-abiding citizens in the twin federation and with international laws.

The government and the CIU are working together to ensure the CBI Programme remain operational and stable and will continue to be beneficial to the people of St Kitts and Nevis.

Dr Drew had also used the public platform to make a call to diversify the economy. Before the Prime Minister’s administration took over, the country was heavily reliant on the CBI Programme.

The government of St Kitts and Nevis decided to open up the country in April 2022, for the tourism sector to improve. The COVID-19 restrictions delayed successful economic growth. The Government had to mitigate the impacts as quickly as possible.

The government had slowed down the prison project, as the education and housing sectors needed to be addressed. Dr Drew emphasised that the CBI Programme’s security and due diligence will not be compromised.

Prime Minister Dr Drew announced that Canada has granted partial permit entry and the government is working towards full permit access into Canada.

The CBI Programme is receiving a positive international reception with the support of the government and the CIU, he said.

Economic diversification
The government is aiming to diversify the economy through various sectors, such as shifting the tourism sector from seasonal to all year round, establishing the energy sector, and investing in the agriculture sector and green housing.

The Government is also working towards resolving the energy, technology and water issues in the country. Highlighting that technology needs to become an essential aspect of economic development. Dr Drew noted that health is an important part of human development and that “health is wealth”.

Sustainable Island State agenda
The government is geared towards developing the sustainable island state model, he said. The twin federation’s representatives visited the United Nations (UN) in 2023 to participate in the voluntary National Review, where St Kitts and Nevis had the opportunity to present the sustainable island state model. The government’s representatives received positive reviews.

The National Development Plan was accepted into the cabinet and will be extended to 2040, said the Minister of Investment. This will form part of the framework to diversify and stabilise the country’s economy.

Benefits of CBI for St Kitts and Nevis
Officials revealed a model of revenue sharing with the World Bank. Since Dr Drew’s administration came into office, they were able to share so much more resources with Nevis, including budget support and consolidated funds. The consolidated funds form part of the CBI revenues.

The government will continue to spend on Nevis for them to benefit from various programmes, they said, and this includes the dividend payment introduced through the success of the CBI Programme and educational benefits.

Independence 40 Reset programme
Dr Drew explained the “Independence 40 Reset” programme, which is the government’s effort towards sustainable development of the twin federation and to express gratitude towards the country’s citizens. The transformative programme consists of six key areas:

1. Workers’ Reset

2. Electricity Arrears Reset

3. Water Services Arrears Reset

4. Housing Arrears Reset

5. L.A.N.D Reset

6. Building Materials Reset

This initiative includes various relief measures such as one-time payments to Social Security Fund contributors, arrears forgiveness, reduced interest rates on land, and incentives for homeownership and renovations.

Furthermore, the government approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to introduce the Sovereign Wealth Fund. The process is almost complete and will benefit the nation. This Fund is designed to mitigate unexpected climate changes that will impact the twin federation.


St Kitts and Nevis CBI Programme Citizenship

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