Basseterre, St. Kitts: The Unity government will continue to look to the sale of citizenship to drive future economic development in St. Kitts and Nevis.
This is according to Minister of Finance, Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris, speaking at the October 19 Henley & Partners Global Citizenship Seminar in Miami.
“Our CBI is an important part of our strategic plan for economic development. The citizenship program now contributes nearly 35 percent of our country’s revenue. It has received the endorsement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as a constructive vehicle for continued economic growth.
“The CBI program is allowing us to advance our economic development at a time when we have graduated from concessional financing…The CBI program is helping us to finance our infrastructure development and provide hotel beds. We are using resources to spur entrepreneurship and enterprise among our people,” he said.
Dr. Harris had high praise for the St. Kitts-Nevis Citizenship By Investment (CBI) program, saying as more countries implement programs of their own, most have taken elements from SKN’s successful model.
“It bears reporting that our Citizenship By Investment program is the oldest and the best program in the world. All other program have borrowed elements from our program…It is an enormously invaluable vehicle for promoting national development and economic resilience. It is a tremendous resource, but like all resources it needs to be managed carefully, with prudence, integrity and diligence.”
Dr. Harris said his administration continues its efforts at reforming the program, which he noted, fell into disrepute under the former government. Run properly, he posited, the St. Kitts and Nevis market-leading CBI program remains “an excellent product”.
“It is useless to pretend that everything has always been rosy with the CBI program. When our Team Unity government took office, we recognized that mistakes had been made by the former regime. The program had been abused to a point that was willful, almost dishonest… Our government decided to reset the program and assume full responsibility for its success and good governance. Our government wanted the world to know that the CBI program is open for legitimate business.”
Foreign nationals can obtain SKN citizenship through a US$250,000 to the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (SIDF) or by making a US$400,000 real estate investment.
The SIDF option earned the government more than 1 billion dollars over 7 seven years, however very recently more persons are turning to the real estate option.