NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (May 16, 2022) – – Premier Hon. Mark Brantley, Minister of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) today May 16, announced that public servants and pensioners on Nevis will be getting a 15 percent increase in salaries and pensions.
“With effect from the next pay day, 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.
“Put differently, on Nevis our public servants and pensioners will receive salary and wage and pension increases of 15 percent compounded over the period 2022-2024. This staggered approach will enable the NIA to better manage the increases and allow for better management of the finances of the government…This represents the largest ever financial commitment to public servants and pensioners in our island’s history.”
These increases shall not be extended to Cabinet members, he said.
The Premier explained that the Cabinet of the Nevis Island Administration determined that the increase would be apportioned over time in an effort to avoid further significant borrowing at this time.
He pointed out that Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris’ May 02 announcement of a 10 percent salary to Federal public servants, pensioners and STEP workers retroactive to January 1, 2022, was done “without any discussion with the Nevis Island Administration or with my office as Premier and Minister of Finance for the island of Nevis”.
Mr. Brantley further explained that the NIA had to act in a fiscally prudent and sensible manner with respect to the increases as the island of Nevis and its finances have been severely negatively impacted by the economic carnage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the people of Nevis are still being denied their fair share of the Citizenship By Investment program revenues.
“It is regrettable that Dr. Harris has taken this approach as it departs from the practice since Independence that such decisions would always be coordinated so as not to disadvantage any public servants or pensioners on St. Kitts or on Nevis. 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.
“To this end and for the first time in our Nation’s history, I am to advise that we cannot on Nevis follow down a fiscally reckless path which is designed only for short term political gain without regard for the long term fiscal stability of our island. St. Kitts cannot dictate fiscal policy for Nevis while denying Nevis its fair share of national income.
“This level of cynicism should be roundly condemned by all Nevisians and by all of our brothers and sisters in St. Kitts as well.”
In addition to the salary increase, the NIA has put a three-person Auxiliary Pension Committee in place to finalize a pension policy to bring relief to well over 1000 Non-Established workers in Nevis. This plan offering gratuity and pensions will be discussed with all Non-Established workers and shall come into effect on the island of Nevis on September 1, 2022.
The Premier announced another relief measure intended to cushion the impact of increasing food prices on the people. Effective Wednesday, May 18, 2022 and lasting until August 31, 2022 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.
“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. Of note is that this relief will be granted to both personal and commercial importers. I appeal to our supermarkets to pass on these savings to our consumers and Ministry of Finance officials will be meeting with supermarket chains in Nevis to ensure that consumers benefit from this initiative in the form of lower prices on these basic food items.”
The Premier assured that although these are difficult times politically and constitutionally in the Federation, those difficulties will not deter the government from managing the affairs of Nevis in a sensible and prudent fashion. He asked for the understanding and prayers from the populace “as we navigate this troubling period in our shared history”.