The Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) will be modernised and also given the responsibility to promote and facilitate foreign and local investment in Grenada.
According to Economic Development Minister, Oliver Joseph this would be made possible through the tabling in Parliament last week Friday of the Grenada Investment Development Corporation Bill, 2016.
Speaking in Parliament on the issue, Minister Joseph said that with this bill, GIDC would be able to pursue investment policies to encourage new, emerging and existing businesses.
The senior government minister told the sitting that took place at the Grenada Trade Centre at Morne Rouge that the bill is necessary to help reform the state-controlled corporation.
“This entity is critical in assisting investors coming to Grenada to establish their business but in the new dispensation, the corporation cannot just sit and wait for investors to come to them and then they explain to individuals the procedure and what they are entitled to – it has now to do with promotion of Grenada, promoting Grenada internationally to attract businesses to come to Grenada and invest,” he said.
Minister Joseph stated that there are 12 functions outlined in the bill for the corporation to follow in its new construct with one of them being to organise, initiate and participate in promotional activities in order to stimulate investment into Grenada.
“We as the government (have) decided on what we call priority sectors that will be given special incentives for development and the corporation must go out there and promote the sectors as the priority sectors and the list of incentives because we have come up with a new incentive regime that will provide incentives for investors to be attracted to Grenada”, he said.
The minister stressed that government wants investors to come and establish, as well as create jobs, and promote economic development and “the corporation has to play an active role in this regard”.
Minister of Tourism, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen who stood in support of the bill, noted that tourism will have a vested interest in its passage.
“I believe it augurs well for the Ministry that I represent, Ministry of Tourism as well as for businesses on a general scale in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. I believe this move to establish the GIDC as an economic development corporation is a very good one in keeping with what other countries in the Caribbean has done…I believe it will enhance what we have already achieved in the past and especially in the last three and a half years,” she said.
Minister for International Business, Nickolas Steele who also threw his support behind the bill said it will now allow the GIDC to hold investment for itself.
“It finally tells the GIDC if you are the one that supposed to have all the answers for investment in Grenada, you are now given a mandate to invest yourself in Grenada and get a return on investments and use those returns on investment to further promote development and future investment in Grenada,” he added.
Prime Minister Mitchell told Parliament that the changes to be undertaken at GIDC have been clamoured for a long time by persons in business.
“Clearly this is a revolutionary step that we have taken here to give the GIDC their powers to have investment and we notice that there are growing investment interests in this country”, he said.
“It is being said by people regionally and internationally that this is the new baby in the game as far as countries (are) concerned…in terms of investment,” he remarked.
The operations of GIDC came in for criticisms from an arm of the Washington-based World Bank that reviewed the performances of several government-owned statutory bodies in which it called for some of them to be wound up.