Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis, September 18, 2023 (Press Secretary, PMO)– In a momentous statement to the nation at the Sitting of the National Assembly of Saint Kitts and Nevis today, Monday 18th September 2023, the Honourable Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Terrance Drew, unveiled a historic initiative called “Independence 40 Reset” aimed at revitalizing the nation and expressing gratitude to its hardworking citizens. This transformative program embodies a commitment to fostering economic growth, improving living conditions, and recognizing the invaluable contributions of the people of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Administration’s Independence 40 Reset programme consists of six (6) initiatives, namely Workers’ Reset, Electricity Arrears Reset, Water Services Arrears Reset, Housing Arrears Reset, L.A.N.D Reset, and the Building Materials Reset or Build and Thrive Incentive.
As a token of appreciation for their dedicated efforts and contributions towards nation-building, the government will be providing a one-time payment of EC$1000 to contributors to the Social Security Fund as part of the Government’s RESET initiatives for the Fortieth (40th) Anniversary of Independence celebrations. However, only pensioners and active workers who reside in Saint Kitts and Nevis will benefit from the initiative.
Persons are asked to take note that there is no registration required. Payments will begin this week and will be processed using the banking details utilized for Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Dividend payments.
The Independence 40 Workers’ Reset bonuses will be financed through the profits generated from Saint Kitts and Nevis’ CBI Programme.
Electricity Arrears Reset:
Under the “Independence 40 Reset,” immediate reconnection will be granted to all residential SKELEC customers currently disconnected. Citizens are encouraged to maintain regular payments, and SKELEC is available to assist with payment plans. Responsible energy consumption is encouraged to conserve energy resources.
Water Services Reset:
Residential Water Services Department customers currently disconnected will also benefit from immediate reconnection under the initiative. The Water Services Department is prepared to assist with payment plans. However, Prime Minister Drew encouraged citizens and residents to maintain regular payments to avoid disconnection and to use water responsibly to conserve this vital resource.
Housing Arrears Reset:
The “Independence 40 Reset” program also includes significant relief for housing-related arrears. Prime Minister Drew announced that all penalties on arrears from the National Housing Corporation (NHC) will be eliminated. He also added that all customers with outstanding mortgage balances will experience a reset to the principal amount and for those NHC customers who are up-to-date with their payments, the interest on their mortgages will be frozen until March 2024.
During his announcement, the Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis mentioned significant initiatives to be implemented under the Land Normalization Allocation and Distribution (L.A.N.D) Reset, effective September 30, 2023.
“As a strategy for alleviating the pains and delays in home ownership, mortgage access, and registration challenges, we have devised as a government a strategic pathway to land ownership and empowerment” Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew stated before announcing the initiatives.
Under the L.A.N.D Reset, the interest rate on residential lands has been reduced significantly from 12% per annum to 6% per annum.
The Prime Minister added that “interest accrued or built up on lots distributed between the years 1998-2022, will be removed all payments will therefore be assigned to the principal or the balance”.
Additionally, he also stated that interest rate waivers have been extended from two (2) years to three (3) years after land allotment.
“The new reduction would therefore mean that all residential land applicants with outstanding balances will now have a grace period of three years, beginning October 1st, 2023, to September 30th, 2026, to settle their outstanding balances without added interest to their principal”, explained Prime Minister Drew.
Lastly, it was announced that all new landowners will now have six (6) months to pay which means that instead of the traditional three (3) months, to make the required 25% deposit on new land purchases, citizens will now be given six (6) months to make the 25% deposit.
New landowners will enjoy a 6-month interest-free period to make their deposit.
Building Materials Reset:
The Building Materials Reset is also dubbed the Build and Thrive Incentive. Under this initiative, first-time homeowners with a mortgage of up to EC$500,000 and homeowners wanting to renovate their homes will benefit greatly. For First-Time Homeowners there will be no import duty, no Customs service charge, and reduced Value Added Tax (VAT) to 13% for one year from the start date of project approval.
Homeowners who wish to renovate or repair their homes incurring an amount up to EC$500,000 will receive similar benefits, that is, no import duty, no Customs service charge, and reduced VAT to 13% until December 31st, 2024.
Prime Minister Drew emphasized that these initiatives represent the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Administration’s commitment to the well-being of its citizens and the sustainable development of Saint Kitts and Nevis. “Independence 40 Reset” is a bold step towards creating a brighter and more prosperous future for all.