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Posted: Monday 22 August, 2022 at 10:04 AM

PM Drew seeks to address cost of living as priority

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AS a result of the continuous complaints by citizens and residents about the cost of food and fuel, Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew has indicated that addressing the rising cost of living is a priority area for his Government.


    Since the start of the pandemic, countries, worldwide, were forced to implement measures to tackle the spread of COVID-19, which resulted in a bottleneck and challenges in the supply chain and accessability to food.


    Now the shortage of food and the challenges coming out of China have resulted in a major uptick in the cost of products, while the ongoing war in Ukraine has resulted in an increased cost of fuel.


    However, in recent days the cost of fuel has significantly decreased. But projections from the World Bank showed that the inflation rate for St. Kitts and Nevis is expected to top 4.5 percent for 2022, which is a steep climb following the 1.2 percent recorded last year and the 1.17 percent in 2019.


    While speaking with SKN Newsline following his first day at work, Prime Minister Drew acknowledged that it is one of the areas that needs to be addressed.


    “We want to deal with the cost of living. The cost of living is a very critical issue in terms of the cost of food. That is going to be a priority area! The cost of fuel is also going to be a priority, so that we can begin to deal with the cost of living for our people here in St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Drew.


    During an interview with SKNVibes News, former Government Minister Dwyer Astaphan suggested that a number of the policies implemented by the former administration did not necessarily benefit the economy.
    He noted that the Labour administration has not necessarily inherited a favourable economy, since the Dr. Timothy Harris-led administration did not handle the pandemic and the economy well with some of the policies.


    Astaphan alluded to a number of policies, including the No-jab, No-work idea and the large number of people on safety net programmes.


    “When you have so many people on safety net programmes, it means less and less people are producing for more and more people. That cannot be a good economy,” said Astaphan.


    While reiterating the need for the inflation issue to be tackled, Dr. Drew reminded that it was a campaign issue that was pushed and they would seek to resolve the matter. 


    “How can we help our people by decreasing the cost of living”, Dr. Drew questioned.


    The newly-elected Prime Minister is seeking to rebound the economy from the ravage of the COVID pandemic. The country was rocked by the high levels of unemployment and the ripple effects of the mitigation measures.
    Now all attention will be placed on the new administration to see what measures will be instituted to jump start the economy which is seeing slow growth with the return of the tourism sector.


    Since assuming office, Dr. Drew lifted the last remaining COVID-19 restrictions to mitigate against the pandemic to allow for free movement in and out of the Federation, and spur the stayover tourism numbers.


    That is one way he is seeking to spur economic growth, along with the desire by the Government to pursue more foreign direct investment.
    Despite the push by the new administration, it may be challenged as the supply chain issue remains.



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