Prime Minister Harris also referenced “all the wonderful things we as a team have accomplished and will accomplish in the future with God’s help and the support of the people.” One of the wonderful things is that, over the last four years, the growth in new businesses entering the formal economy has been phenomenal.
Net business formation has been at its highest level under Team Unity. For the first time in history, the number of business licences issued by the Inland Revenue Department exceeds the 400 mark. Additionally, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has witnessed the largest numbers of jobs, workers and social security contributors in the first four years of Prime Minister Harris’ Team Unity administration.
In each year – 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 – business licences exceeded the 400 mark; in 2016, the number of business licences issued peaked at 490, the best record to date.
In 2016, the top three new businesses formed fell into the following categories: taxi operator, passenger bus service, and snackette. In 2017, the top three new businesses formed fell into the following categories: retail shops and stores (except liquor), passenger bus service, and construction contractor. In 2018, the top three new businesses formed were retail shops and stores (except liquor), snackette, and taxi operator.
Local taxi operators are indubitably sharing in the fruits of growth, as they have witnessed a whopping 77 percent increase in total cruise passenger spend in 2017/2018 (US $133.02 million) over 2014/2015 (US $75.30 million). Source: 2018 Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) Report.
Since the early days of the Team Unity Government, small businesses in St. Kitts and Nevis got a boost from its Fresh Start Programme, which was launched in September 2015. Under Fresh Start, hundreds of applicants were successful in attaining concessionary loans and technical assistance from the Development Bank to either start or expand their micro, small and medium-sized businesses.
The Honourable Prime Minister, who was listened to with rapt attention and appreciation by a large audience of well-wishers on Saturday night, commended the support of his Cabinet colleagues and affirmed that his administration will continue to govern the country well on behalf of the people.
Prime Minister Harris also thanked the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, saying, “The support of a government by its people plays a big part in its ability to make the deliverables possible for this wonderful Federation. We were pleased by the outcome of a scientific poll conducted by CADRES, which showed that the vast majority of people in St. Kitts and Nevis preferred the leadership of Team Unity. The majority of persons indicated that we deserve another term.”