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Competitiveness Council Shares Concerns about Economy

Council members strongly advised the Prime Minister to bring to fruition, new investment initiatives in the renewable energy sector involving geothermal, wind and solar energy to impact positively in reducing the high electricity costs for domestic and commercial consumers alike.

Addressing various issues in a meeting with Minister of Finance and Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas, they also placed some spotlight on the competition in the distributive trade sector from the Chinese entrepreneurs.

The Council Members, in setting the future agenda for Stimulating Growth and Competitiveness, strongly advised the Government to immediately develop and implement a national campaign for Rewarding Excellence in Service and the Promotion of Productivity in both the Public and Private Sectors.

In his presentation during the session, Dr. Douglas gave the background reasons for the IMF-supported home-grown economic programme, which he said has the strong support from creditors, the Caribbean Development Bank and Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Monetary Council.

Douglas outlined the government’s stimulation of Growth and Competitiveness within the context of the new International Monetary Fund-supported economic development programme.

Also discussed were the continued diversification of the tourism sector -prospective investments in medical tourism and quality improvement and expansion of the off-shore education sector in addition to the government’s land distribution empowerment initiatives; the emerging new opportunities for entrepreneurship, commercial agriculture, and real estate development driven mainly by both options of the highly-supervised and well-regulated Citizenship by Investment Programme were also discussed.

Douglas also spoke of the negotiations with commercial creditors to exchange their current bonds for a new bond offer and gave the rationale why the government took a firm decision in preserving the current investment in the Treasury Bills portfolio for the Federal Government and the Nevis Island Administration, making good on its promise to pay outstanding interests on existing bonds on the close of the new bond offer, pay out completely bond holders of certain specific size investments and greater details about the Special Purpose Vehicle for the purpose of the Debt Swap Initiative between the government and three major domestic creditors.

The meeting, the first for the year attended by Prime Minister Douglas lasted several hours and was chaired by the Council’s Chairman, Mr. Charles Wilkin Q.C.

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