Passport selling programme not doing well

The passport-selling scheme operated by government known as Citizenship By Investment (CBI) is not living up to expectations.

Government’s fiscal summary report for the month of August, which was released last week, indicated that revenue collection for the month was less than targeted.

According to the report, the Ministry of Finance collected $42.8M as against the $47.5M that was expected.

The document attributed the revenue shortfall to the CBI, which netted only $1.1M in fees as against the $10.1m that was budgeted.

Speculation is rife that the Keith Mitchell-led government is under pressure mainly from the United States to ensure that Grenadian passports are not sold to questionable characters.

Last year, $6M went into government coffers through the nine applicants who were approved by the Citizenship by Investment Committee.

Six of the approved persons came from Italy, two were Chinese, and one is Pakistani.

The cash-strapped Keith Mitchell led government in St. George’s reactivated the selling of passports in order to raise monies to help the island deal with a fiscal deficit.

The report from the Ministry of Finance also highlighted the fact that Grant receipts continue to struggle.

It said that Grant receipts in August amounted to $10.1M as against a target of $19.5M.

However, the Ministry of Finance is boasting that government realized an overall surplus of $1.1M with total revenues and Grants amounting to $52.9M versus total Expenditure, which includes recurrent and capital of $51.8M.
Meanwhile, Grenada has fallen by five points in the “Ease of Doing Business” that was released by the World Bank on October 27th.

Grenada which ranked 130th last year, is now ranked 135th.

The island now lags behind the other territories of the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) based on the rankings of the World Bank.

St. Lucia which is ranked 77th leads the OECS, and it is followed by Dominica at 91st, Antigua and Barbuda 104th, St. Vincent and the Grenadines 111th, St. Kitts and Nevis 124th, and Grenada 135th.

In 2009 under the former Congress government of Tillman Thomas, Grenada was ranked 88th, in 2010 at 91st, 2011 it went up to 68th, 2012 it occupied the 73rd position but from 2013 it started to decline.

It held position 107th in 2013, while in 2014 it went further down to 130th, and now for 2015 it is placed by the World bank at 135th from among 185 countries.
Puerto Rico tops the Caribbean region having been ranked 57th in the world, ahead of Costa Rica and just behind Mongolia.

The factors used in arriving at the rankings include starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency, among others.

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