At the November 4th, 2022, Sitting of the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis, Minister of Small Business and Entrepreneurship the Hon. Samal Duggins moved the Small Business Development (Amendment) Bill, 2022 which was successfully passed in the House. According to Minister Duggins, the amendments will allow more local businesses to benefit from government assistance.
“The Small Business Development (Amendment) Bill, 2022 seeks to amend the Small Business Development Act which was passed in 2009 to provide framework and support for small businesses operating in St. Kitts. It is important to note that Nevis has a separate micro and small-scale business enterprise ordinance that applies specifically to Nevis. So, I want to ensure the public that my references of St. Kitts alone in this case are as a result of our Constitutional arrangements. Indeed, the calls for more support for small businesses have been thundering, as more and more entrepreneurs find it difficult to navigate the post-pandemic existence. Rising raw material cost, supply chain disruptions and other commercial realities have made it increasingly difficult to survive much less thrive,” said Minister Duggins.
Minister Duggins has stated previously that he aims to transform the business landscape by equipping business owners with modern technology and the resources needed to be competitive in the global marketplace.
“Clause 3 of the Bill provides the first amendment; it simply now shifts the Ministerial responsibility of small business development from the Minister of Industry and Trade to the Minister of Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship in accordance with the recently assigned portfolios. The second amendment deals with in part the definition of a small business. Under the Small Business Development Act, a small enterprise is defined as an enterprise that meets a number of benchmarks including that it makes less than two million dollars in revenue annually; that it has less than one million dollars in paid capital and that it has less than 25 employees. Clause 4 of the present Bill seeks to amend the Act by extending that third element relating to the number of employees. This Bill proposes that the size of small business enterprises move from an enterprise of 25 employees to 30 employees,” said Minister Duggins.
According to Minister Duggins, the need to increase the number of employees was based on data retrieved from various businesses that would have applied to the Government for assistance. Minster Duggins also stated that the amendments will create more employment opportunities in a number of sectors across the domestic economy.