The final draft of Grenada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy plan was received by Cabinet recently and Minister for International Business and Foreign Affairs, Nickolas Steele said the document will be used as the focal point in moving forward with the building of the planned new economy.
The document was put together by government’s chief economic policy advisor, Dr Patrick Antoine, as well as Professor Timothy Taylor, a retired lecturer from a university in Florida in the United States, and ex-government minister, Michael Church.
The document also had some input from staffers within the Policy Unit of the Ministry of Finance.
According to Steele, the document would guide the work to be undertaken by the one-year old New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
“This is our road map, our guideline as to how we will be moving forward with the other sectors….”, he said.
Minister Steele stated that the document will be used to unlock systems from the European Union in Poverty Reduction and also other donor agencies but in particular the European Union as the island attempts to tap into some of the EPA funding.
“Within the next couple of weeks or so, copies of the draft will be circulated to the public at large and a consultative process will begin from the strategy side of it,” said Steele.
“This document will also be passed on to the European Union for us to unlock the Poverty Alleviation funding from that.”
The senior government minister noted that the strategy document brought up some interesting points that Government was fully aware of.
“It highlights that while we know that the poverty has not reduced in the past five and a half years that the poorest sectors in terms of demographics are our youth; those are the ones that are suffering the most,” he said.
Steele disclosed that the findings in the strategy document are clearly aimed at looking at solutions to problems in the area of youth development..
“The strategy document for instance points to growth sectors, it points to recognition also that in Grenada the service sector has declined, which is a worrying factor,” he said.
“It points to areas encouraging growth in the service, it points to agro-processing, it points specifically and most importantly as well to a reduction in the Public Service recurring expenditure; that has to be addressed as well,” he remarked.
He reiterated that with Education, Housing and Business Environments, enabling sectors of the youth are addressed and are pointed out in terms of strategy.
“This document incorporates all of the various projects that are current, that have been embarked on in the past five or six years,’ he said.
He indicated that what is significant about the document is that it brings to life the fact that Grenada had led in terms of growth trends in the region except the time of “Hurricane Ivan and Emily and the period of the previous administration.”