Citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis, good day. I bring to you the Post-Cabinet briefing for the Cabinet meeting held Monday August 8, 2011.
TAX CONCESSION FOR SMALL BUSINESS
As part of the series of measures to consolidate the fiscal position of the government, there has been a general review of government's tax concession policy towards large businesses and foreign direct investment in particular. Small fledgling businesses remain a high priority for the government especially at a time when there are lingering concerns about the stability and strength of the global economy. The small business sector is recognised as having the greatest potential for growth and employment creation.
This policy being the guide, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the granting of tax concession on transportation equipment for a small local business operating in the services sector. The financial assistance to the small business concerned will assist it in improving quality of service and in serving an expanded clientele.
The Prime Minister and Minister of Finance remarked that the fiscal variables are tending in the right direction and that significant progress has been made through the adoption of a series of measures including the restructuring of the tax system. He identified the present policy of allowing home construction projects a waiver of taxes on materials purchases up to EC$400,000 as a significant stimulus measure for our local economy. The Prime Minister also pointed out that our debt-restructuring efforts should yield great benefit in the reduction of the stock of public debt, which stands at 155% of the GDP. Nominal GDP at market prices for 2011 is estimated at $1,915 Million.
TREASURY BILLS ISSUE No. 162
In keeping with the Treasury Bills (Amendment) Act 2002, Cabinet approved the issue of Treasury Bills in the amount of EC$247,277.00. This issue of Treasury Bills reflects one of the recent important policies of the government which is to allocate bills to varying and longer periods of maturity than 91 days as was customary. Bills are therefore now being issued as follows:
• For 91 days at 6.5% per annum
• For 182 days at 6.65% per annum
• For 365 days at 6.75% per annum
PROPOSED RESOLUTION TO ESTABLISH A SELECT COMMITTEE ON CRIME AND VIOLENCE
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, the Hon. Sam Condor, discussed a draft resolution for the National Assembly which is slated to sit on Friday August 12. The draft resolution is intended to establish a select committee on crime and violence that should have membership from both sides of the House. The remit of the House Committee will be to advise Parliament on legislative matters with respect to crime and violence, and to investigate and report on other matters related to the fight against crime including the human and material resource requirements for effective discharge of responsibilities by the Ministry of National Security.
SCHOOL-BASED STUDENT HEALTH SURVEY
The Ministry of Health presented to the Cabinet its findings from a School-based Student Health Survey that was conducted in March of this year. The Ministry reported that as part of its efforts to better serve the health interest of the nation, it was critical that the Ministry gleaned statistically-valid information in relation to various dimensions of the health and habits of young people in the Federation.
The Health Survey was conducted in all secondary schools in Nevis and St. Kitts and involved 1740 students of Forms 2, 3 and 4 who fell into the 13 – 15 year age group. The survey attempted to assess:
• dietary behaviours
• mental health
• physical activity
• protective factors
• sexual behavior, and
• violence and injuries profile, of the students.
Some of the significant findings include the following:
• 32.5% of students being overweight
• 96.3% of students brushing their teeth once or more daily
• 25.6% of students engaged in physical activity for at least one hour per day
• 31.7% of students having had sexual intercourse
The Ministry of Health stresses that the information gleaned will be used in key decision-making and that it will continue to advocate for healthy lifestyle in all of its aspects. Moreover, the Ministry has received the endorsement of the cabinet of Ministers to convene a National Stakeholder Consultation to determine practical and sustainable responses to the findings of the research.
This brings to an end the Post-Cabinet Briefing for Monday August 8, 2011.
Hon. Nigel Carty
Minister of Information
Government of St. Kitts and Nevis