December 14, 2012
SVG to launch programme designed to reduce debt, induce growth and create jobs

A programme that aims to identify policies and initiatives designed to induce growth and create jobs in the Caribbean, will be launched officially in St Vincent in January 2013.{{more}}

Decima Corea, deputy director of planning, says the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) is the result of the 4-3-2 Comprehensive Framework for Debt Reduction.

It is led by four donors: the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Corea described the initiative as “a long-term look at reducing debt in the Caribbean” and explained that it is geared at bringing debt levels in the region to below 60 per cent of a country’s gross domestic product.

“Specifically, with the ECCU (Eastern Caribbean Currency Union) region, it is observed that our debt to GDP in all instances is over 60 per cent,” she said.

Corea also stated that the forum works by paying attention to three thematic areas: logistics and connectivity, investment climate and skills and connectivity, which will be managed by Tony Regisford, Ronette Lewis and Felix Lewis.

Regisford, the CEO of Vincy Fresh, said the forum was a way of engaging people through dialogue, to identify areas that challenge growth.

“The dialogue, while it would be with civil society and the public sector, it will focus mainly on the private sector,” he said.

He also outlined some of the problems mentioned in a forum on November 13 by persons of different sectors, who considered these issues a hindrance to economic growth.

These problems include the expensive rates of inter-island flights, lack of vocational institutes to train hoteliers properly, and access to finance to start new businesses.

“Those are the sort of things that the working groups will identify and address,” Regisford said.

And, Felix Lewis, general manager of Centre for Enterprise Development (CED), highlighted that part of his job is to try to ensure that St Vincent is on the path to sustainable development.

“This particular initiative provide us with a very important opportunity to play a role in ensuring that we have mechanisms in place that would help government to define policy that would sustain economic growth,” he said.

Solidifying what her colleagues said, business development consultant Ronette Lewis stated that she felt the forum was absolutely important and necessary and that the hope is to work with the groups to produce practical, implementable solutions that drive action.

“We’re not looking for talk shop, but we’re looking for solutions to practical problems that exist within our economy,” the consultant said.

Other islands in the Caribbean, such as Jamaica, have already implemented the CGF and Mr Lewis said that so far, results have been noted.

The Forum will be officially launched in St Vincent on January 17, 2013, and Corea said she is hoping that persons from the various sectors will come out and voice their concerns.

“It is an effort which all of us will have to do together, as we seek to certainly generate jobs, bring about growth and certainly increase wealth for individuals in the economy of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” she said.

More information about the initiative can be obtained at Central Planning Division on the first floor of the Financial Complex. (BK)