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PM announces major investments in private sector in this year’s budget

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Contact: Rose Marie Harris

PM announces major investments in private sector in this year’s budget

Wednesday, April 09, 2003 – A new three year programme which will make available $15.8 million to the overall development of the private sector will be implemented this financial year. Government has over the years developed the private sector through a uniquely Saint Lucian programme managed by the Office of Private Sector Relations (OSPR).

In delivering his 2003/2004 Budget presentation, Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony re-confirmed his government’s commitment to the development of the island’s private sector, saying that the only government in the Caribbean Community with a programme that specifically targets the development of the private sector, is the government of Saint Lucia.

Dr. Anthony said “Consistent with government’s policy of supporting and strengthening the domestic private sector, the OPSR delivered assistance over the past three years valued at &792,646.81 to twenty companies for produce development, diversification, marketing, systems development and human resources development. This assistance was rendered to large and small firms alike, seeking new export opportunities within the region as well as in Canada and the United Kingdom.”

With assistance from OPSR, the Saint Lucia Coconut Growers Association was at last able to pursue product diversification and in so doing brought new products to the market.

During this financial year the OPSR will proceed with a second phase of its private sector development assistance programme. Emphasis, Dr. Anthony enunciated, will be more intensive and will involve more direct business support services to individual firms. “With funding already approved, deposited and in Saint Lucia, the OPSR will now be inviting Saint Lucian companies to participate in a $15.8 million Business Upgrading Programme, spread over the period 2003 to 2006.”

Under this new programme Saint Lucian businesses will be able to obtain grant funding for the following activities:
(1) assessments of business needs and commercial viability;
(2) the design, development and implementation of business plans;
(3) the training of management and staff;
(4) product and market development;
(5) adjustment to meet international trade standards and regulations;
(6) forging joint ventures/strategic alliances with overseas corporations; and
(7) Accessing external and domestic funding.

Saint Lucian consultants will be trained to deliver these business support services and business associations will be able to obtain assistance to meet the needs of their members.

At the private sector level, technical assistance and training will be provided to relevant government ministries in the fields of :
(1) procedures and legislation affecting business competitiveness; and
(2) Preparing and implementing policy reform pertaining to investment promotion, consumer protection and competition policy.

Sixty million dollars is being allocated to this second phase of the OPSR programme of assistance.

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