Grenada has identified four major issues negatively impacting the development of private sector.
The findings were disclosed during a SALISES/Compete Caribbean OECS Private Sector Assessment, Grenada Consultation, at Flamboyant Hotel and Villas last week Friday.
According to Compete Caribbean’s initial findings, a review of existing research including Doing Business Reports and Enterprise Surveys for Grenada as well as results to emerge from the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) working groups and interviews conducted by the project team with stakeholders in the public and private sectors last year, the most binding constraints to private sector development to emerge includes cost of finance, workforce skills, energy costs and port charges and taxes (stamp duty charge).
A total of 50 local private and public business representatives participated in the consultation.
The five-year SALISES/Compete Caribbean OECS Private Sector Assessment program provides technical assistance grants and investment funding to support productive development policies, business climate reforms, clustering initiatives and Small and Medium Size Enterprise (SME) development activities.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) jointly fund the US$40 million program.
The program aims to build a more robust and sustainable private sector through the elimination of remaining restrictions to free flow of goods, services, capital and people within the countries of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy; provide opportunities for forging closer private sector linkages across OECS member countries; shifting from protection to adjustment support to help disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors, manage the process of intra-regional liberalisation; and facilitate private sector development within a more open trading environment.
Portfolio Manager, Private Sector Development Unit, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Peter Blackman spoke of the prolonged economic recession that continues to plague the region resulting in high unemployment, poverty and high debt.
He believes that there is no other time in history that the region has been so challenged and is convinced that ways must be found to increase private sector development.
For the OECS, the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, was contracted by Compete Caribbean, through the Caribbean Development Bank to conduct the Private Sector Assessment of six countries in the OECS.
Participating countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.