by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Public servants and pensioners in Nevis should expect a 15 percent increase in salaries and pensions to be paid in three increments from 2022-to 2024.
The Premier Hon. Mark Brantley, Minister of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), announced the increase on May 16 during an address to the people of Nevis.
“The Cabinet of the Nevis Island Administration in an effort to avoid further significant borrowing at this time has determined that with effect from the next payday, public servants and pensioners in Nevis shall receive a 5 percent increase in their salaries and wages retroactive to January 01, 2022. On January 01, 2023, we shall give a further 5 percent increase to our public servants and pensioners. On January 01, 2024, we shall give a further 5 percent increase to our public servants and pensioners.”
Brantley continued, “our public servants and pensioners will receive salary and wage and pension increases of 15 percent compounded over the period 2022 to 2024. This staggered approach will enable the NIA to better manage the increases and allow for better management of the finances of the government.”
The announcement follows the Prime Minister, the Hon. Dr Timothy Harris announcement of a 10 percent salary increase to federal public servants, pensioners and STEP workers retroactive to January 1, 2022.
The distance between the Peoples Labour Party (PLP) and the Unity Coalition, now consisting of the People’s Action Movement (PAM) and the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), continues to widen as Brantley suggests that the Prime Minister’s decision was made without discussion with the NIA or Brantley’s office as Premier and Minister of Finance for Nevis since the Premier’s dismissal as a Federal Minister.
“Dr. Harris, therefore, knows that the NIA will have to borrow money to pay salary increases whilst he uses Nevisians’ money that he has vindictively withheld to fund increases to public servants, pensioners and STEP workers on St. Kitts. In a very real sense, Dr. Harris is seeking to leave the people of Nevis without an umbrella while he has a large tent of savings from our CBI money in St. Kitts. ”
The Premier then said that St. Kitts could not dictate fiscal policy for Nevis and deny Nevis a fair share of national income.
In addition to the increase in salaries and pensions, the Premier addressed the issue of food security.
Food prices in the Federation are rising due to supply chain issues, the war in Europe and global dependence on raw food products for various countries, grains in Ukraine and Russia, fuel from Russia and plant-based oils and their by-products from Indonesia.
Effective May 18 through August 31, all Customs Duties on corned beef, pasta, sardines, tea, coffee, bacon, sausages and similar breakfast meats, cheese, chicken, milk, rice, flour, fruits and meat shall be waived as a measure to cushion the impact of increasing food prices on the people in the Federation.
“Customs Duties on the various products range from 5-25 percent. We have ensured that Customs Duties on imported vegetables, imported pork and imported fish remain so as to encourage our people to buy locally produced vegetables and pork and locally caught fish.”
Brantley urged supermarkets to pass on these savings to our consumers, sharing that the Ministry of Finance will be meeting with supermarket chains in Nevis to lower prices on the essential food items based on the waiver.