With a debt to GDP ratio of 103 per cent, unemployment of 40 per cent, real GDP growth of 0.50 per cent and a primary balance as a percentage of GDP of -0.20 per cent, the Prime Minister of Grenada, Keith Mitchell is calling on the private sector to help spur the country’s
Speaking at Republic Bank’s investor briefing conference held at Spice Island Beach Resort on Tuesday, entitled “Fast Forward Together – Reigniting Growth”, Mitchell said: “The economic challenges we face are far worse than was predicted nevertheless there are real opportunities in Grenada. It is important that we now begin to facilitate private-sector investment as we aggressively confront an unemployment rate of 40 per cent.
“We are abolishing the Alien Landholding Licence regime for Caricom nationals and will take no more than 30 days to arrive at a decision for non-Caribbean nationals. We don’t want to have them in limbo awaiting a decision indefinitely. These are positive steps as we look to grow the economy.”
Grenada’s total GDP stands at around US$850 million with total revenue standing at around US$190 million. It carries a primary balance of 20 per cent with a total public debt of US$900 million.
Its debt stock composition is as follows: domestic debt of 23.7 per cent with an external debt of 76.3 per cent. Bonds and payments to the multilateral agencies make up the lion share of its external debt while Treasury Bills form almost 60 per cent of its domestic debt.
Last month the World Bank said no new loans would be made to Grenada unless it honoured overdue payments amounting to US$750,000. Grenada had struggled to meet a payment on February 15, with seven payments being more than 30 days due.
However, earlier this week, the World Bank called on Grenada to develop a strategy to promote investments, develop effective systems and speed up the processing of investment proposals.
Dr.Mitchell is calling for the formation of a smaller more efficient government. He is of the view that big bureaucracy hurts the economy making it slow and ponderous.
“The smaller the government the more efficient the country runs.
Right now our public sector is too big and inefficient. The cost to run the public sector has risen from $17 million to $28 million. The government brings in less revenue but is bigger. We should be looking to reduce it from 17 to 11 ministries.”
The Prime Minister is leading the charge to see to it that Grenada is
more responsive to the private sector. He has formed a Growth and Competitiveness Council that will report directly to Cabinet. He is eager to implement a one-stop-shop for investments.
“Grenada must become one of the safest jurisdictions in the Caribbean for the private sector. We welcome all credible investors but everyone must be on the same level playing field. I would like to see companies with operations in the OECS set up their corporate headquarters here in Grenada”, he said.
“Companies must profit, yes, but they should also be looking to contribute to the country. We are calling on the private sector to employ our young people, be our friend and help us to move forward.
Our government is prepared to work with you as we seek to build a better life for our people”, he added.