3500 new jobs for Grenadians in Fiscal 2015, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell has given Parliament details of some of the areas where the expected employment will be created.
In presenting the 2015 budget to a joint sitting of the Houses of Representatives last week Wednesday at the Grenada Trade Center. the Prime Minister announced that the Budget provides $312.3 million for in capital programmes to be initiated by government over the next 12 months.
He said that several major projects will be done to “put thousands of our people back to work; thus helping them to provide for their families”.
He mentioned the National Athletic and Football Stadium that is currently being repaired at Queen’s Park in St. George’s with funds provided by the Government of mainland China.
“With the support of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), work on the Athletics and Football Stadium is progressing well and is expected to be completed by August 2015. The total cost is estimated at $65 million”, he said.
“This Facility will become a prized asset for our sports tourism product”, he told Parliament.
PM Mitchell also referred to the rebuilding of Parliament – a project that started under the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Tillman Thomas.
Congress had gotten commitments from the governments of Australia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to rebuild the island’s Parliament that was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan some 10 years ago.
Australia has since reneged on its promise of 5 million Australian dollars and Mitchell’s NNP has gotten Mexico to fill the void.
The Prime Minister said the project has already started with some earth works being done by a local contractor.
He disclosed that an estimated 50 jobs will be created through the project, which should be completed at the end of 2016.
For 2015, some of the priority projects to be undertaken include:-
*Vocational Skills Training (VST) for 400 rural youths at a cost of EC $1,000,000.
*Financing of forty (40) community projects under the Rural Investment Fund (RIF) at a cost of $800,000.
*Make available to the rural business community a Line of Credit (LOC) in the sum of EC$ 1,500,000 for rural community business projects.
*Improvement/Construction of nine (9) farm access roads and (1) bridge.
*Entrepreneurial training for 70 rural youths at a cost of EC$ 70,000.00.
*To stimulate the further development of Industries in the following areas; Poultry, Small ruminants, Bees, Fish, Root crops and Argo-processing.
*Extend MAREP work in another 30 communities including Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
According to PM Mitchell, the expansion of MAREP services around the countryside will afford further opportunities “to make a serious dent in the unemployment statistics in this nation.
He said that $3.3 million is expected to be spent in 2015 under MAREP and “we anticipate the creation of at least 300- 400 jobs”.
Dr. Mitchell also promised hundreds of additional jobs through the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) Programme in association with the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
He told Parliament that BNTF is being resuscitated since it ran into problems under the former Congress government that ran the island in the 2008-13 period.
PM Mitchell said: “Mr. Speaker, like MAREP, the BNTF Programme is another resurrection story and another viable entity for the creation of jobs and opportunities. On arrival in office, the CDB was considering cancellation of the grant for this Programme.
“We project to spend at least $4.6 million on this Programme in 2015. It is estimated that 200 jobs will be created”, he added.
For the period, 2015-16, a total of $6.6 million dollars is programmed for projects.
* Paraclete Government
*Mt. Moritz Anglican
*St. Dominic’s Preschool
*Resource Day Care Centre
Dr. Mitchell also told Parliament that EC$5 million will be pumped by his government into several Concrete Roads Project to help create further employment opportunities.
He also referred to other job opportunities for Grenadians through a number of Agricultural Feeder Roads projects to be undertaken by the Kuwaiti-controlled CCC road construction compan.
He said that CCC has already completed work on roads in Laura Estate, Mt. Tranquil and Morne Delice to Mount Gazo.
However, work is currently underway on the following roads:
*Munich-Grand Bacolet (St. Andrew)
*Mamma Cannes-Grand Bacolet (St. Andrew)
*Waltham (St. Mark)
*Mt. St. John (St. Andrew’s)
*Concord Road (bridge to waterfalls) (St. John)
*Plaisance (St. Patrick)
*Grenville Vale to New Hampshire (St. George’s)
The Prime Minister disclosed that 120 Grenadians are presently employed on the CCC road project and this number will increase in 2015.
In addition, most of the equipment and materialused on the project have been rented/ leased or purchased from local companies and suppliers.
He also said that all the concrete used on these projects by the Kuwaiti company has been purchased from the state-owned Gravel & Concrete Corporation.
The Prime Minister announced that in 2015 roads will be done by CCC at La Borie; and Clozier-Bull Hill-Windsor thus generating an additional 150 jobs.
He assured Grenadians that the NNP regime will be tackling a number of the road networks that had deteriorated in recent months.
PM Mitchell told Parliament: “Mr. Speaker, many of our roads neglected by the previous Administration are now in a deplorable state. With the asphalt plant functional once more, we have begun to address this problem. This Budget provides $7 million for Asphalt Works.
“A provision of $10 million has been made for Road maintenance programme including Debushing. Additionally, $5 million has been earmarked for Concrete Works to provide concrete roads, drainage and retaining walls. It is estimated that there will be more than 10,000 short term income earning opportunities”, he said.
The Prime Minister also alluded to the possible creation of 250 jobs to locals under Special Projects earmarked for a number of communities in 2015.
He said: Special Projects has proven to be a very useful programme as it addresses real needs in communities and also provides employment opportunities for many small contractors in the various constituencies. This year, the allocation has increased from $5 million to $7 million”.
Grenada is also down to benefit from a number of projects to be funded under a Regional Disaster and Vulnerability Reduction Project jointly funded by the World Bank and the Climate Investment Fund to the tune of $70.7 million.
The projects are intended “to increase resilience to climate change and reduce vulnerability to natural disasters.
Among the projects to be undertaken next year are the following:-
*Sendall’s Tunnel Rockfall Protection
*St. John’s River Flood Mitigation
*Completion of the Holy Cross R.C School in Munich
*Rebuilding of the Cadrona Home for the Aged, and the refurbishment of the Hills View Home for the Aged
*Construction of Lance and Hubble Bridges (The sum of $6.5 million has been allocated. This Project is estimated to generate 100 jobs).
The School Rehabilitation Projects scheduled for completion in 2015 are:
*TAMCC Science Laboratory
*St. Mary R.C School (La Fillette)
*Mac Donald College Expansion
*Woburn Methodist Upgrade
According to PM Mitchell, the sum of $13.4 million has been budgeted for these projects which are expected to create a further 150 jobs.
The other major job-creating project to be tackled by government next year is the St. Patrick’s Roads Project that was initiated by the former Congress administration.
This Project seeks to rehabilitate 16 kilometres of road from Duquense to Sauteurs and from Mt. Fendue to Pointzfield at an estimated cost of $27.0 million.
Construction will start in the second half of 2015 and the project is expected to generate at least 50 jobs.