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Prime Minister King calls for thrift amidst global financial challenges

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Contact: Julita Peter

Thursday, October 8, 2009 – Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Honourable Stephenson King, is calling on citizens to save and invest in order to ensure a secure financial future. The call comes as the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank is spearheading a programme of activities to highlight the month of October as Financial Information Month under the theme: “Save and invest today, enjoy tomorrow”.

The Prime Minister noted that during the last year, there has been unprecedented turmoil in the global economic and financial landscape. He said the current economic financial crises serve as a stark reminder of the need to manage money and to make wise investment decisions.

“We in Saint Lucia have not been spared the effects of the turmoil in the international financial markets. The instability in the financial system has resulted in a noticeable tightening of liquidity as bank lending was at a premium and in some cases had almost dried up. Like many other countries, we in St. Lucia have been adversely affected by a decline in inflows of foreign direct investment, which has severely dampened private sector investment in mainly tourism related construction,” the prime minister said.

The Prime Minister said, for the economy to grow and for jobs to be created, everybody should get into the habit of saving, no matter how small. No economy, he added, can grow without saving and investment, whether it is generated from within or is brought in from outside the country.

According to the Prime Minister: “In his seminal work, ‘Theory of Economic Growth’, Sir Arthur Lewis emphasised the dependency of growth on savings and investment. “He wrote: '... investment is necessary to economic growth.' “Implicit in this statement, is that saving is necessary for growth, because investment has to be matched by savings. This then is the answer to the question as to whether saving matters. It does matter.”

The ECCB will be partnering with various institution during the month of October to promote initiatives aimed at engendering healthy money management practices. Some of the initiatives include discussions with community groups and businesses, exhibitions at public libraries, and school presentations.

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