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Government implements measures to achieve recurrent cost containment

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Contact: Rose Marie Harris

Thursday, April 10, 2003 – During this financial year, government will set the wheels in motion to achieve recurrent cost containment and direct resources to stimulate capital investment, maximise revenue collection, contain inflation and significantly reduce borrowing. Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony, says the strategy being used to achieve its goal is predicated on the absence of major changes to the current regional and international situations. He also explained that should there be an adverse change to the prevailing circumstances, then it will be necessary to review the strategy to make the necessary adjustments.

To accomplish the objectives in cost containment, government will put a number of measures in place. The Miami Consulate will be closed down by September as part of a wider process of adjustment in the overseas Missions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The operations of the Gaming Authority will be suspended and in its place a desk will be established at the Ministry of Tourism to handle queries from potential investors.

Government will continue the freeze on hiring of public servants to vacant positions and also contain expenditure on external training. The Prime Minister said government will focus primarily on the construction sector. “Our focus will be on housing and road construction, as these are significant employment generating sectors. Our goal will be to spread these employment opportunities islandwide. In addition, we will be continuing to devote our resources to the agriculture and tourism sector and directing resources to the private sector,” said Dr. Anthony.

The development strategy requires that government seek authorisation to borrow funds largely for the capital investment programme. With the exception of funds to be borrowed from the Agence France de Developpment (AFD) for the Tertiary Road Development Programme and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for Saint Lucia’s Economic Recovery Programme. Government is confident that sufficient funds have been programmed from previous borrowing to continue the investment thrust for this year.

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