A Publication of the Ministry of Finance, Planning, Economy, Energy, Foreign Trade & Cooperatives
Volume 5, Issue 1, January - February 2009
“STRENGTHENING ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT AND BUILDING A PLATFORM FOR SUSTAINABLE GROWTH”
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3 REDUCTION IN FUEL PRICES 3 REMOVAL OF NRL FROM JANUARY 2009 3 TAX INCENTIVE (150% TAX CREDIT) FOR BUSINESSES THAT ENGAGE IN APPROVED STAFF TRAINING
3 TAX INCENTIVE (125% TAX CREDIT) FOR AIRLIFT SUPPORT 3 EMERGENCY FUND FOR HEALTH 3 USE OF LOCAL AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS IN SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAMME 3 Improved business climate 3 Fostering a genuine Multi-partite partnership 3 Provision for more planting material for Mirabeau and Ashendon 3 Revision of Consumer Price Index (CPI) 3 Scholarships for Teachers 3 Commitment to have at least one (1) university graduate in every household
3 National Energy Policy 3 Completion of Boundary Delimitation with Trinidad and Tobago 3 Hotline for waste reduction, including complaints on abuse of Government vehicles
3 Establishment of Office of Government Procurement 3 Preparation for Value Added Tax (VAT) implementation 3 Successful reviews of Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Ministry of Finance, Planning, Economy, Energy, Foreign Trade & Cooperatives “... the engine room of the Public Service...”
EDITOR’S REMARKS Dear All What can be described as a year of challenges has ended; and what is being described as one of “major challenges”, has started. And we are all here, having weathered the challenges of the past year; and for this we must be thankful. We must also trust that we will weather the challenges ahead of us and be always thankful for the gift of life itself. The beginning of a new year is traditionally a time for celebrating love, life, and friendship. It is the time to thank God for wonderful family and friends, and to bring to their lives as much magic as they bring to yours. It is within this context that I take this opportunity to thank the management team and staff of the Ministry of Finance for their support, cooperation, feedback and encouragement in the conduct of my job over the past year. Thanks to the Government Printery for putting up with my sometimes 'unusual' requests. I must say, the newsletter has come a very long way from where we started and I really appreciate the effort that is put into it from your end. Thanks to staff at the other ministries and departments, including the GIS, who have
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assisted me, and the Ministry of Finance in general, in getting the job done. I look forward to the continued support and cooperation of all. Special thanks to my family for the love, encouragement, suggestions, and criticisms you give to me on a daily basis. You are the source of my strength and inspiration. You make life an interesting experience. Above all, thanks to God for all that He has done and continues to do for me and my family. We are assured that in Him there is strength and with Him all things are possible. In closing, I just want to say to everyone, may this year be one of positive beginnings and accomplishments. May each day hold something special and wonderful for you and may you cherish it dearly. You deserve the best of everything that life can ever bring, but you are the only one who can make it happen. Happy 2009 and God Bless!
Petra “... the engine room of the Public Service...”
REPEAL OF THE NATIONAL RECONSTRUCTION LEVY (NRL) The Ministry of Finance advises the general public that pursuant to Act No. 1 of 2009, passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on 14th November 2008 and 4th December 2008 respectively; and Gazetted on January 9th, 2009, the National Reconstruction Levy Act (NRL) No. 16 of 2005 has been repealed. This means that effective January 1st 2009, employers were no longer required to deduct NRL payments from their employees' salaries. Additionally, all monies that were collected for or on account of the NRL (by employers) up to December 31st 2008 must be paid into the Consolidated Fund immediately.
FISH NOT PRICE CONTROLLED The Price and Consumer Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Finance would like the general public to know that Fish is not a price controlled item and is therefore not subject to the Price Control Rules and Regulations (SRO 14 of 1959). GRENADA TO HOST EASTERVAL 2009 The Government Printery will be th e h os t of th e C aribb ean Government Printers Easterval Tour, from April 9th - 13th, 2009. Schedule of Activities will be available at a later date.
An important element in strengthening economic management is improving the performance of the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP), which comprises individual projects from all sectors of our economy. Brothers and sisters, in order for us to achieve improved performance, we must train persons across the various Ministries to better prepare and implement development projects. Therefore, the importance and timing of this training workshop can't be overestimated. We must never forget that our development process is mainly project driven, and if we are to achieve sustained prosperity as a country, we must have within the public service a sufficient cadre of highly competent persons well gained in project cycle management to prepare projects that would attract financial and technical resources from regional and international donors. The current global financial crisis makes this endeavour even more important as resources become more and more scarce. It is within this context that participants must take this workshop very seriously.
MINISTER'S NOTE Hon. V. Nazim Burke Excerpted from Keynote Speech by the Minister for Finance On the occasion of the Opening of the Project Cycle Fundamentals Workshop The Project Cycle Fundamentals Workshop is aimed at helping participants develop an understanding of the basic concepts, principles and practices of project preparation, planning and management. Resulting from the training participants would be provided with a basic understanding of the culture of project development, especially project management systems and skills and the processes involved in the preparation and planning of development projects. In my recent budget presentation, I identified strengthening economic management as one of the key priorities of the Ministry of Finance for the fiscal year 2009.
Brothers and sisters, over the last thirteen years we have experienced a breakdown in the capacity to: • manage the project cycle process, •
co-ordinate the PSIP with adequate budgetary controls, and;
impart a sense of economic direction to the public investment programme.
In recognition of this serious systemic breakdown, the Ministry of Finance has undertaken to rebuild the machinery that would put public investment programming once again on an efficient operational footing. This workshop is one in a series of training activities that the Ministry hopes to undertake during 2009 in an effort to rebuild the system. Already two persons, one from the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and the other from the Project Co-ordination Unit (PCU) are currently enrolled in a 12 months projects course funded by the Caribbean Development Bank, and we are in discussions with the OAS Secretariat for Integral Development to conduct a Logical Framework Approach to Project Cycle Workshop in April of this year. On completion of the training, we expect that participants would return to their respective Ministries energized and better equip to prepare and implement development projects, as we seek to improve the performance of the PSIP and strengthen economic management to lay the foundation for sustained prosperity.
“... the engine room of the Public Service...”
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be implemented in so timely a fashion that they would assist small developing states like us in the English–speaking Caribbean from being overwhelmed and consumed by a seemingly already ubiquitous and socially pernicious presence of poverty? Only recently we have had to revise significantly our growth projections for 2008 and 2009 in Grenada. The likely impact of the credit crunch in North America and increasingly in Europe on major foreign investment projects in the Commonwealth Caribbean, and no doubt in other similar economies could prove to be devastating. Currently Grenada's growth rate is below the 4.0 percent benchmark which is needed to begin to permit us to tackle the issue of poverty in modest way. The story of the other small developing states within our Commonwealth family is not dissimilar.
Hon. Michael Church MINISTER of STATE Ministry of Finance, Planning, Economy, Energy, Foreign Trade & Cooperatives
STATEMENT ON THE CURRENT WORLD ECONOMIC SITUATION AND PROSPECTS Excerpted from Speech to Commonwealth Finance Ministers Undoubtedly, the world economies are facing serious challenges. One of the many key issues in this regard is the deceleration of growth in major economies like the US and within the Euro area. Even so, these latest growth projections are not without serious downside risks that threaten the growth prospects of small independent developing states like many of us in the Commonwealth family. The ongoing financial market turmoil in the US and in Europe, spells even more disaster and places small developing states in even greater jeopardy of stagnation and meltdown. The nervousness that is currently being experienced in our economies reside around two basic concerns that can be posed as interrogators? Are the policy responses contemplated or being contemplated by the developed countries offer the best and most efficacious solutions to the current global economic challenges? And, are they going to
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I reference this observation to highlight the fact that while, at the national level, individual small developing states will of necessity pursue domestic measures to blunt the negative effects that decelerated growth could have on their economies; the developed economies, by virtue of their comparative strength and resilience, should embrace as its responsibility to seek and contribute to possible solutions, given their global reach, in arresting the economic crisis, improving the global economic situation and positioning the Commonwealth's economies on a more sustainable growth path. The adoption and implementation of that type of approach would certainly while assisting in the reversal of the downward economic and growth trends that seem to be confronting us would be a huge investment in the democratic ideals and practices we have come to enjoy and relish. The fiscal implications of slowing growth on small and vulnerable countries within the Commonwealth are no longer on the horizon but staring us squarely in our faces. Already saddled with a high debt to GDP ratio and declining development assistance, the fiscal space available to respond to these challenges is so restrictive that it could be considered non existent. In Grenada, we have had to allocate significant amounts of scarce resources in our attempts, in the short run, to cushion the effects of the economic deceleration and its attendant hardships on our citizens, especially the poor and vulnerable. In recent times, we have had to spend in excess of 2.0 percent of our Gross Domestic Product on social safety net programmes alone. This brings me to the second issue – high food and energy prices. I believe that we can all agree that they are perceived by most as requiring more urgent attention because when those prices shift upwards they impact people, especially the most vulnerable, immediately – sometimes with own violence that,
“... the engine room of the Public Service...”
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in turn, attracts violence from these affected social groups and strata. We are asked to act now in addressing the high food and energy prices so that we do not suffer a reversal of the gains we may have made over the years with regards to poverty reduction and quality of life enhancement, modest though they may be. I am sure if we were to look around in our respective countries, we would see that our citizens are hurting. From what I have observed from my day to day interactions with people, I have no doubt in my mind that more and more people are finding it difficult to meet their basic requirement for living. I am deeply concerned about the impact on poverty situation and the implications for crime, violence and other social ills. At the other level, we are being asked to construct and implement policy measures that should reduce the level of vulnerability in society so that people are better positioned to cope with negative economic changes that could arise from time to time. The causes and consequences of rising energy prices signal a burden sharing approach. I fully endorse this approach and believe that global action is needed to halt inflationary pressures. Some of our countries, including Grenada, have already adopted mechanism to allow the full pass through of energy prices to consumers, with targeted social safety net measures to cushion the effects on the poor and vulnerable. However, poor and economically-constrained developing states like ours are beyond their financial limits to continue, much more to expand, current safety net programmes. Accordingly, we invite our development partners and other influential players in the international community, including net oil exporters, to come to the table to help resolve this global phenomenon. Additionally, at the domestic level, small developing states should pursue the route of adopting and promoting energy efficiency initiatives and policies, in the short term. In the longer term horizons, developing
states must address their energy needs in a more comprehensive framework that takes into consideration the utilisation of energy from both traditional (nonrenewable) and non-traditional (renewable) sources. Grenada has already begun to put the initial pieces together with a view to formulate an all-inclusive energy policy. Finally, historically, small developing states have had a reliance on aid from developed countries. The delivery of aid by developed countries is of extreme and strategic importance, maybe, more so now, with the threat of an increased incidence of poverty propelled by an increasing deceleration of economic growth in both the developed and developing nations of our Commonwealth family. In the last fifteen years, we have witnessed both a substantial decline in the amount of aid pledged and significant shortfalls in volumes delivered by donors to small developing states. The policy governing aid by developed countries to small developing states within the Commonwealth family we believe should be guided by two conditions, especially given the developmental and growth challenges facing the latter. Firstly, aid commitments made by developed states to developing states must occur at a much higher delivery rate. Secondly, the proportion of aid destined for budgetary support must be more highly favoured than aid for project purposes. I wish to conclude by reiterating the need for concerted and collaborative actions by all players in confronting the challenges that are before us. At the individual country level we need to implement policies and programmes that will make us more resilient and build stronger economies. At the global level, the rest of us would be relying on the major players in the global economy to work together to ensure that the international economic and financial architecture improves as they assist poor countries to lift themselves out of poverty.
Quotes "One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency." Arnold Glasgow “It's not having what you want. It's wanting what you've got”. Sheryl Crowe “... the engine room of the Public Service...”
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COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE SPECIAL MEETING OF THE ECCB MONETARY COUNCIL HELD ON 20 FEBRUARY 2009 VIA VIDEOCONFERENCE Source ECCB
The Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) held a special meeting on 20th February 2009 by videoconference, chaired by Dr. the Honourable Errol Cort, Minister of Finance, Antigua and Barbuda. Council discussed the financial challenges being experienced in Antigua and Barbuda resulting from the civil complaint filed by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on 17th February 2009 against Robert Allen Stanford and the Stanford Financial Group. The Council approved the intervention by the ECCB under the emergency powers granted under Part IIA Article 5B of the amended Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Agreement 1983. This states, inter alia, that where the Bank is of the opinion that the interests of the depositors or creditors of a financial institution are threatened, that the Bank shall, in addition to any other powers conferred to it, have power to take all steps it considers necessary to protect the interests and to preserve the rights of depositors and creditors of the financial institution. This action was deemed necessary because of the complaint filed by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on 17th February 2009 against Robert Allen Stanford and the Stanford Financial Group which subsequently led to the withdrawal of funds from the Bank of Antigua Ltd. In response to this situation, the ECCB sent in two teams of Bank Supervisors on Wednesday 18 February 2009 and Thursday 19th February 2009 and has been supplying liquidity to the bank which has ensured that the depositors' demands have been met.
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The Monetary Council of the ECCB approved a plan of action in which leading indigenous banks, together with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda have come together to establish a new entity which will take over the operations of the Bank of Antigua Ltd. by Monday 23rd February 2009. All the parties involved will be working with the ECCB throughout the weekend to commence operations of the new entity on Monday 23rd February 2009. The names of the participating banks are as follows: 1. St. Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank 2. Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings (Bank of Saint Lucia) 3. Antigua Commercial Bank 4. National Commercial Bank (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) 5. National Bank of Dominica The Council commended the work of its Chairman Dr. the Honourable Errol Cort, Minister of Finance of Antigua and Barbuda and the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves for leading the effort to put the arrangements together. The Council expressed its very strong support for the maintenance of financial stability in the long term and hopes that this firm and decisive action will demonstrate to citizens its seriousness in maintaining the financial system in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union in a safe and sound condition.
“... the engine room of the Public Service...”
Remarks by Hon. V. Nazim Burke at National Dialogue on Ports & Customs Operations This is a Strategic Review of the services provided by the Ports and Customs in the context of the general drive to raise competitiveness levels in Grenada's Doing Business environment, but specifically as a key part of our Doing Business Action Plan. The Ports and Customs are the facilitators of Cross Border Trade. We have elevated Cross Border Trade to be our second priority behind business Start Ups. We look forward to achieving some quick wins in this area.
Ports and Customs and our Regional and International Trade Obligations The administration of measures related to the implementation of CSME, including the reduction of Nontariff barriers on extra-regional goods and the acceleration of Stage 1 of the Single Market and Economy (Right of Establishment and the Provision of Services) require efficiency at the ports of entry. Similarly, our EPA obligations will test the efficiency of our Ports and Customs. Ports and Customs and Doing Business Reform The Doing Business Trading Across Borders indicator measures the processes, time and cost required to import and export a standard consignment of goods by sea. According to the World Bank, Grenada ranks 3rd out of 6 OECS countries and 63rd globally. The report also speaks of delays and high costs and recommends a reduction in the number of documents, fees and charges. It recommends the streamlining of processes and the use of electronic systems for document processing. It calls for greater coordination among service providers. In the context of our Doing Business Action Plan two key areas of interest are the time taken to process entries and port charges. This is where we most need to make movement in order to improve our Doing Business ranking.
Participants at Consultation
The importance of Cross Border Trade Cross Border Trade is critical, not just from the standpoint of competitiveness, but also from the standpoint of providing revenue to run our country. (More than 60% of government's revenue comes from customs duties). Ports and Customs and our National Export Strategy The competitiveness of our exports depend not just on the Cost of Production, but also on the Cost of Exporting. Port charges, as well as costs in terms of paperwork and processes form part of the transaction costs of exporting and can therefore facilitate or undermine the efficiency goals in our National Export Strategy. Ports and Customs and Cost of Living Charges at Ports and Customs impact the retail prices of imported goods. A reduction in those charges, as well as increased productivity levels can help reduce the Cost of Living. This dialogue provides an opportunity for an objective review of some of these costs, including the cost of cargo handling, with a view to justifying their parameters or recommending adjustments as may be seen fit.
We can draw encouragement from the fact that Reform and Modernization processes are already happening, both at Ports and Customs. We hope to reinforce and accelerate these processes. Identify the Stakeholders and Key Players in the Reform Process. The stakeholders consist of the entire nation, inasmuch as pretty much all that comes in or goes out are supposed to pass through our ports, and has already been intimated, standard of living and welfare are affected by efficiency levels, costs at our ports. The key players are those invited to be present at this dialogue. They include the staffs of the Ports and Customs, as well brokers, shipping agents, importers, exporters, truckers, traffickers and institutions such as the government ministries and Bureau of Standards, etc. These are the service providers and users of the system. Today, the Nation charges the key players with the responsibility to make the system better for all. We can lay the basis for initiatives that can permanently improve our Doing Business climate, etc.
â€œ... the engine room of the Public Service...â€?
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Excerpts from Presentation by Minister of Finance at Consultation on Global Economic Crisis KEY MESSAGES • Economic outlook for 2009/10 is very challenging • A protocol with the social partners is essential • A regional response is required especially in respect of tourism and financial sector stability Impact of Global Economic Crisis on Grenada • Lower economic growth (0.5% projected in ‘09) • Slow down or halt of major tourism developments (hold on at least US$700 mn) • Projected decline in Tourist Arrivals (15-20% in 2009) • Rising Unemployment (could be as high as 30%) • Projected decline in Remittances (20%) • Tightening of bank liquidity
• Small Entrepreneurs Development Fund ($1 million) • Attempts to expand the temporary workers programme with Canada • Improving the Doing Business Climate Supporting Tourism • Joint negotiations for airlift (with Tobago) • Tax Credit of 125% for contributions to airlift • Tourism budget of $25 million maintained despite smaller capital budget in 2009 (tourism’s share of capital budget has increased) • Ongoing negotiations with hotel/resort developers on ways Government can support the resumption of projects • Proposed Product Development Fund (a US$1 contribution per night by each tourist) • Ongoing meetings with key stakeholders (developers, banks, SGU, hoteliers) Supporting Agriculture and Food Security • Farms Roads ($10.5 million) • Farm Labour ($2.5 million) • Plant Propagation ($1.3 million) • Agro-processing Development ($2.3 million) • Rural Credit Scheme ($2.0 million) Combating Cost of Living • Reduction in Fuel Prices (largest decrease in 10 years) • Increase Public Assistance Allowance (from $150 to $200) • Textbook Scheme ($10 million) • Duty Free Barrels (2 per household) • Reduction in taxes on tyres for bus operators Rising Unemployment • Promotion of Social Pact • Unemployment Benefits (not yet considered) • Farm Labour Support • Youth Upliftment Programme • Increased Scholarships
Inflation Trends 2003-200
Fiscal Pressures Government committed to sound economic management demonstrated by: • 2009 Budget which is consistent with the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the IMF • Smaller but more targeted capital budget • Commitment to structural reforms (eg. doing business) • Commitment to tax reform (VAT to commence in Feb. 2010)
Grenada's Response to the Global Economic Crisis Stimulating Economic Activity • Tax Amnesty (100% waiver of potentially $120 million of interest and penalties to collect $75 million) • Removal of National Reconstruction Levy ($10 million)
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Financial Sector Stability • Maintain close dialogue with local commercial banks • Collaborate closely with ECCB through the Monetary Council • Step up regulation and supervision of non-bank financial sector by GARFIN
“... the engine room of the Public Service...”
Why do we applaud a great performance? Why not stand on our heads or click our heels instead? Who started this handclapping stuff? Hear, hear! Huzzah! Bravo! Excellent question. Superb, really. And ultimately unanswerable. As Elwyn Simons, head of Duke University's Division of Fossil Primates, tells AF, "We don't know how far back it goes, not without a time machine. Cavemen and human ancestors — we don't know whether they clapped hands or not. But you don't find primates doing it unless they've been taught to do it. They do clap hands in the wild. It's not to applaud something; it's because they're frightened or want to call attention to food." Yvette Blanchard, a pediatric physical therapist and researcher at the University of Hartford, says that human clappers are made, not born. "I think it's a learned behaviour. What I've seen babies do spontaneously, from excitement, is clasp their hands together. But the motion of clapping, I think that's a learned behaviour." As to clapping's association with audience approval, Jay Fisher, a classics professor at Yale University, dates the custom to at least the third century B.C. "You see it at the end of a lot of plays by Plautus and Terence, where they have this word plaudite, which is an imperative [meaning] 'applause,' 'clap.'" It's worth noting that the ancient Romans also demonstrated their approval of a public performance with finger-snapping, and that modern Canadian concertgoers signal delight by screeching at the organ-grinder's monkey.
FINANCIALTip There are five steps for building good credit:
1. Pay your bills, such as rent and utilities, on time. 2. Make loan/credit card payments on time. 3. Pay your loan payments first. Then, spend money on other purchases. 4. Apply for only the credit you need. Do not apply for all the credit you can. Each new credit card counts against your credit score. 5. Never overdraw your checking/cash account.
Source: Esquire's Answer Fella
he Minister of Finance, Planning, Economy, Energy, Foreign Trade & Cooperatives, Minister of State, Permanent Secretary, Management and Staff extend condolences to the family and friends of all those who have lost their loved ones recently. “Good men must die, but death cannot kill their names” God's Peace Be With Their Souls.
“... the engine room of the Public Service...”
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Happy Independence Grenada Year s
Christmas Activities 2008
Continues on pg. 16
Facts Fun &
Did U Know? !
That Grenada signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on October th 15 , 2008? Grenada is a member of the Caribbean Energy Information System (CEIS)?
Have a laugh...
On the first day of school, a first grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read: “The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents.”
A woman was trying to get ketchup out of the jar. During her struggle the phone ran so she asked her 4-year old to answer the phone. She then heard the child say: “Mummy can't come to the phone to talk to you right now. She's hitting the bottle.”
A Panda Bear walked into a restaurant. He sat down at a table and ordered some food. When he was finished eating, he took out a gun and shot his waiter. He then left the restaurant. After the police caught up with him, they asked him why he had killed the waiter. He replied, "Look me up in the dictionary." What did the dictionary say? When they looked up the word "Panda" in the dictionary, it stated, "Panda: Eats, shoots and leaves."
Fun Facts ! In 10 minutes, a hurricane releases more
energy than all of the world's nuclear weapons combined. ! One gallon of used motor oil can ruin
approximately one million gallons of fresh water!
Riddle Feed me and I Live. Give me Drink and I Die. What Am I? Ans: Fire
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“... “...the theengine engineroom roomofofthe thePublic PublicService...” Service...”
FFinance inance STAFF DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING Continued from pg. 15 Continued from pg. 16
Hon. V. Nazim Burke, Minister of Finance, attended the 64th Meeting of the Monetary Council in St. Kitt's on February 13th, 2009. As stated in a release of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) the Monetary Council received the Governor's report on monetary and credit conditions, and
Mr. Matthew Simon, Energy Officer responsible for Energy Information Systems at the Energy Division of the Ministry of Finance, attended a Caribbean Energy Information System (CEIS) training on the use of Renewable Energy Information Platform and Annual th th Network Meeting in Jamaica from 24 – 26 , 2009.
Minister Burke end right, & other Finance Ministers at meeting
provided directives and guidelines to the Bank on related policy matters, as mandated by the ECCB Agreement 1983, which governs the operations of the Central Bank. Among the other matters to be considered will be the impact of the global crisis on financial sector stability in the ECCU. The Monetary Council is the highest decision-making authority of the ECCB. It is made up of eight ministers, one from each of the participating governments. Each Minister designates an alternate to serve on the Council in his absence. Chairmanship of the Council is rotated among the members on an annual basis. Minister Burke was accompanied by Mr. Timothy Antoine, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance. Hon. Michael Church, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, attended the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)/WTO Regional Workshop on “The WTO, the Doha Development Agenda and the Role of Parliamentarians” in Antigua from February 18th to 20th 2009.
Mr. Matthew Simon
Some of the key issues addressed at the Workshop were: (1) Working with the Renewable energy Information platform; and (2) Issues affecting CEIS and renewable energy in the Caribbean. Grenada is a member of CEIS. The Caribbean Energy Information System (CEIS), is the energy information arm of the Caribbean set up to provide a regional energy information service through a network of Caribbean countries in support of planning and decision making. Mr. John Auguste, Senior Energy Officer of the Energy Division of the Ministry of Finance, together with the other members of Grenada's negotiating team on Boundary Delimitation with Trinidad and Tobago, namely Dr. Carlyle Mitchell, an Expert on Maritime
The Workshop was aimed at assisting Parliamentarians in the Caribbean, the Americas and the Atlantic Region to develop knowledge and understanding of the WTO, Doha Development Agenda, and more broadly, the role of the WTO in the international trading system. The Workshop explored opportunities for Parliamentary dimension of the WTO and discussed strategies that might be undertaken within national parliaments to raise parliamentary awareness of the WTO agenda. “... the engine room of the Public Service...”
Mr. John Auguste
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Affairs; Mr. Robert Voltera, an Attorney; Mr. Richard Gent, a Hydrologist; and Mr. Gilbert Massel, attended a meeting in Trinidad and Tobago from February 5th – 6th, 2009 to continue negotiations with Trinidad on Boundary Delimitation.
Globalisation and Global Crises: The Role of Official Statistics; (4) Perspectives on Global Spatial Data Infrastructure; and (5) Country Experiences in Population and Housing Data Collection and Archiving.
The Grenada Government is currently in the process of establishing its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with Trinidad and Tobago. The settlement of the Grenada boundary with Trinidad has important implications for the OECS since it will also affect, by establishing the tripoint, the northern EEZ boundary with Trinidad and Tobago with Venezuela and the southern boundary of the OECS with both countries.
Sergeant Zephyerine Charles of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) attended a meeting with Officials of the IRS, at the United States Embassy in Barbados on February 2nd 2009. The meeting was set up upon the request of the office of the FIU with regards to a number of investigations currently underway.
Mr. Oliver Joseph, Permanent Secretary on Assignment to the Ministry of Finance attended the Expert Group Meeting on the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), in Trinidad and Tobago from February 5th – 6th, 2009.
Mr. Brian Joseph, Supervisor of Enforcement at the Customs Department attended the Seventh Meeting of the CARICOM Standing Committees of Chiefs of Immigration and Comptrollers of Customs, in Suriname from January 29th – 30th, 2009.
The main objectives of the meeting were to: (1) disseminate the findings of the analyses prepared by ECLAC to a wider audience of regional stakeholders; (2) foster a deeper understanding of the required actions for implementing the Agreement at the regional and national levels; and (3) promote dialogue on the development of selected benchmarks for monitoring and assessing the impact and effectiveness of the Agreement.
The objective of the meeting was to promote greater dialogue between Customs Officials and Immigration Officers as it deals with issues related to the CARICOM Travel Card (CARIPASS) as well as ongoing Border Security Initiatives with the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD) and Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC).
Grenada signed the EPA agreement on 15th October, 2008. Mr. Curlan Gilchrist, Head of the Central Statistical Office of the Ministry of Finance attended the Fortieth Session of the United Nations (UN) Statistical Commission at the United Nations Headquarters in New th th York from February 20 – 27 , 2009.
Hon. Michael Church, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Mr. Mike Sylvester, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, attended the Thirteenth (13th) Meeting of the Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP) in Barbados, from January 27th – 29th, 2009.
The exercise focused on a number of issues including: (1) Environment-Economic Accounting; (2) Advances in Geographical Information Systems (GIS); (3)
Hon. Michael Church and Mike Sylvester
The Meeting covered a wide range of topical issues including “Policy Implication for the Caribbean Community resulting from the Global Financial Crisis”; and “Preparation for the CARICOM Single Economy.” Mr. Curlan Gilchrist
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Continued from pg. 14
COFAP has primary responsibility for economic policy co-ordination and financial and monetary integration of Member States. Mr. Halim Brizan and Mrs. Margaret Frame, Statisticians at the Central Statistical Office of the Ministry of Finance attended the CARICOM Short Course on Principles of Demography from January 12th - 23rd, 2009 in Jamaica. This training was a part of the Demographic Analysis under a grant agreement between the Caribbean Community and the Caribbean Development Bank. The training focused on essential concepts and methods in demography, including
convened as a result of a decision by the Monetary Council, in October 2008, to have the two bodies meet jointly, to discuss in - depth the impact of the international financial crisis on the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union and to discuss a coordinated response.
Hon. Tillman Thomas (2nd right) & other delegates at meeting
Welcome to all new staff who recently Mrs. Frame 4th left (front row) Mr. Brizan 5th left (back row)
Measurement Issues in Demographic Analysis; Life Tables; Model Life Tables and Population Projections among other topics. A discussion was also held on the proposed Common Census Questionnaire for the 2010 Round of Censuses. Mr. Brizan and Mrs. Frame attended a Meeting on the Implementation of the DEVINFO Dissemination Software in the Region from January 23rd – 24th 2009 in Jamaica.The meeting was a collaborative effort between the CARICOM Secretariat, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF). DEVINFO is a software application that enables easy access to information and is used by the United Nations (UN) to disseminate the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is accepted as the main platform to disseminate the 2010 Round of Population and Housing Census in the Region. The CARICOM Secretariat and INICEF have been facilitating the expansion of DEVINFO in the Region. Hon. Tillman Thomas, Prime Minister, Hon. Nazim Burke, Minister of Finance, and Mr. Timothy Antoine, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, participated in a Special Meeting of the OECS Authority and ECCB Monetary Council in St. Kitt's from January 15th – 16th 2009. The meeting was
joined the Ministry of Finance, Planning, Economy, Energy, Foreign Trade & Cooperatives
“... the engine room of the Public Service...”
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What’s Been Happening
MANAGEMENT TEAM RETREAT The Management of the Ministry of Finance, Planning, Economy, Foreign Trade, Energy & Cooperatives bagan the New Year with a retreat at the Coyaba Beach Resort on Friday January 2nd, and Friday January 9th, 2009.
Mrs. Marquez-Sylvester brings experience to the position having recently served as Debt Advisor at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. She is also no stranger to the Ministry of Finance having worked as Senior Policy Analyst and Budget Officer on two previous occasions.
The key priorities of the Debt Management Unit will be: • Debt forgiveness; • Greater use of the Regional Government Securities Market to reduce cost of borrowing; • Improved cash flow management; • Training in debt sustainability analysis. PERMANENT SECRETARY JOSEPH ON SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT AT MINISTRY OF FINANCE Mr. Oliver Joseph, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now on special assignment at the Ministry of Finance for a period of one (1) year, effective January 15, 2009. Management Team at retreat
The theme for the retreat was “As a Team, We Can Make Things Happen”. The retreat provided the forum for the Ministry to develop a results oriented workplan/matrix based the Ministry's key deliverables from the 2009 Budget. The Ministry also used the retreat as an opportunity to identify its major challenges in effecting these deliverables and determine possible solutions in overcoming these challenges. ESTABLISHING OF DEBT MANAGEMENT UNIT The Ministry of Finance now has established its Debt Management Unit as announced by the Minister of Finance in his 2009 Budget presentation.
Mrs. Natasha Sylvester
The Head of the Unit is Mrs. Natasha Marquez-Sylvester, who commenced duties on Thursday January 15, 2009.
Mrs. Sylvester's immediate mandate is to provide leadership to the Unit; undertake a debt sustainability analysis; seek debt forgiveness; and reduce the cost of current Government debt.
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Mr. Oliver Joseph
As part of his assignment, Mr. Joseph will Head the Unit responsible for the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). He will also play a key role in external trade relations. INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMS DAY CELEBRATIONS th Monday January 26 2009 was once again celebrated around the world as International Customs Day. International Customs Day marks the anniversary of the establishment of the World Customs Organization, some 55 years ago, whose mission it is to facilitate trade and travel of the world's citizen. More importantly, however, International Customs Day is the day when the efforts of men and women working in customs organizations world-wide are recognized.
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Although celebrated throughout the world in many different ways, the message is always the same - Our employees do valuable work, perform an important public service and their efforts are truly appreciated. The work of customs' officials world-wide is making a significant contribution to the safety, security and prosperity of all communities. The theme for this year's celebration was "Customs and the Environment-Protecting our Natural Heritage". This theme is very fitting for the Caribbean, especially Grenada. Most manufacturers, inventors, policy makers and even the ordinary man are conscious of the need to keep our planet green. The responsibility lies with everyone to do what is necessary to protect and conserve our environment. The World Customs Organization Council has adopted several recommendations on addressing environmental crimes. The latest recommendation, approved in June 2008, calls for all World Customs Organization (WCO) members to continue their efforts to combat environmental crimes and to ensure that the environment remains a priority issue for Customs Organizations across the globe. One aspect of Grenada's Customs Department mission statement is to assist in securing the Island's social, ecological and economic environment. The Department therefore is one of the agencies, focused on the preservation of our environment as evident in the formation of the Green Customs Initiative Partners by the WCO. A few years ago training was conducted to facilitate the identification and depletion of Ozone Depleting Substance which falls under the Montreal Protocol. This was done in collaboration with the Energy Unit. The WCO is soon to release the updated Montreal Protocol Customs training manual, the Green Customs Guide and the WCO e-learning modules on the Montreal Protocol and Green Customs. The role of Grenada Customs and Excise Department in protecting the Natural Heritage starts with border control, that means all persons and goods entering our island should make a true declaration pertaining to travel, accommodation, possession, country of origin, means of transportation etcetera. It is up to the public as well to protect our island. Remember smuggling in items such as fruits from restricted countries puts us at risk. This threatens the island's position in the global market as we are relatively free of most infestation be it animals or plants. Grenada Customs and Excise Department's celebration of International Customs Day has evolved into a week of activities which commenced with a church service on
January 25, 2008 and ended with an award ceremony on Saturday 31, 2009. During the week there were school visitations, a radio quiz and a visit to the Bel Air Home. On Monday January 26th, 2009, the Department hosted an 'open house' in an endeavour to educate the public about the department. MINISTRY OF FINANCE HOLD PLANNING SESSION WITH STATUTORY BODIES Following from an initial meeting on December 04, 2008, the Minister of Finance and Senior Officers of the Ministry of Finance, met with the Chairpersons and Managers of all Government Statutory Bodies at the National Stadium on Thursday January 22, 2009 The Agenda for the meeting included: 1. Discussion of a Proposed Strategic Partnership Agenda between Government and Statutory Bodies; 2. An update on Investment Plans for 2009 and the Investment Fund; 3. The development of Annual Business Plans; and 4. The submission of Quarterly Reports (Income and Expenditure) to Government. The Ministry intends to meet will all Statutory Bodies on a regular basis. GRENADA ACCEDES TO AITIC The Ministry of Finance, Planning, Economy, Foreign Trade, Energy and Co-operatives is pleased to announce that Grenada has become the 60th participating member of the Agency for International Trade and Co-operation (AITIC), having deposited the Instrument of Accession with Switzerland's Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, on 18 February 2009. Application for membership was made when a delegation from Grenada paid a courtesy visit to AITIC on 7 October
Grenada Delegates & AITIC Personnel
2008. The delegation was headed by Honourable V. Nazim Burke, Minister of Finance, Planning, Energy,
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Foreign Trade and Cooperatives, and Ms. Sally-Anne Bagwhan-Logie, Senior Trade Officer. Membership in the AITIC would reinforce the existing links between AITIC and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to which Grenada belongs. AITIC welcomed Grenada and pledged its assistance to provide trade-related technical assistance activities and services. AITIC is an intergovernmental organisation based in Geneva, with its goal of assisting less-advantaged countries to have more effective trade-led growth through personalised assistance and capacity-building programmes. AITIC provides information and policy advice to help less advantaged countries integrate into the multilateral trading system and the work of the WTO and other international trade-related organisations in Geneva. CONSULTATION ON THE IMPACT OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS The Government of Grenada has heard the call made by Senate representatives of Labour and the Private Sector for dialogue on the Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on Grenada. In this regard, under the auspices of the Multipartite Consultative Committee, a national consultation was held at the Grenada National Stadium, on Thursday February 5th, 2009.
A representative of the Private Sector on the Private Sector's Perspective on the Impact of Global Economic Crisis on Grenada, the Policy Implications and Suggestions; and • A representative of the Civil Society on the Civil Society's Perspective on the Impact of Global Economic Crisis on Grenada, the Policy Implications and Suggestions. These presentations were followed by a panel discussion. Opening remarks were made the Prime Minister, Hon. Tillman Thomas. This event was consistent with Government's commitment to foster a genuine multipartite partnership, a key priority of the 2009 Budget. PROJECT CYCLE MANAGEMENT TRAINING The Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank and the Caribbean Consultancy Group Ltd. hosted a Training Workshop on the Fundamentals of Project Cycle Management in Grenada, at the Grenada National Stadium from February 9th – 17th , 2009. The Workshop was divided into two parts. Part one was th th held from February 9 – 13 and was aimed at enabling participants to develop an understanding of the basic concepts, principles and practices of project planning and management.
The day's exercise saw presentations by: • Hon. Nazim Burke, Minister of Finance on Government's Response to Global Economic Crisis; • A representative of the Labour Unions on the Labour Unions' Perspective on the Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on Grenada, the Policy Implications and Suggestions;
Participants at Workshop
Part two was held from February 16th – 17th and focused on Ministries prioritizing their capital project as approved in the 2009 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, and developing cash flow and implementation schedules to assist in the implementation of the capital budget. Prime Minister Thomas, Minister Burke & other presenters at Consultation
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The participants were made up of the Finance Officers, Project Officers and Chief Technical Officers from all Government Ministries and Departments. These officers will later form teams that can effectively and efficiently carry out their duties and tasks as it relates to project development and implementation. VAT AND EXCISE TAX STEERING COMMITTEE HOLDS ITS FIRST MEETING AND TRAINING SESSION Following Government's decision to implement VAT on February 1st, 2010, and the reactivation of the various project committees, the Steering Committee met on Friday 20th February, 2009.
Access Road at the Project Site in Morne Longue St. th Andrew's, on Friday 27 February 2009. WORLD BANK MISSION A World Bank Mission arrived in Grenada on Thursday February 5th, 2009 to present the Doing Business Reform Memorandum and conduct a detailed assessment of the processes for business registration and paying taxes in Grenada. As part of their agenda, they spent time observing the processes at the Inland Revenue Department of the Ministry of Finance and at the Supreme Court Registry.
At that meeting, the Committee received a presentation from the VAT Implementation Team on the status of implementation and the proposed policy issues. Some of the issues for which recommendations would be made to Cabinet are, the VAT Threshold for compulsory registration, penalties and schedules for zero rates and exemptions. th
On Friday 27 February, 2009, the members of the Committee, together with the members of the other Committees established for the implementation of the VAT, were engaged in a VAT Information Session organized by the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC). This session provided an opportunity for exchange of information between the Grenadian officials involved in VAT and Excise Tax Implementation process and officials from Dominica, St. Vincent and Belize where VAT has already been implemented. It is hoped the experiences of these countries would strengthen Grenada's pre and post VAT implementation plans and activities. Given the VAT timetable of February 01, 2010 (next year), the Steering Committee will meet regularly in the upcoming weeks to make recommendations to Cabinet.
World Bank officials th
On Monday February 9 , they met with the persons involved in administering the paying of taxes and registering new businesses. th
On Tuesday February 10 , they present the Reform Memorandum at the Main Conference Room of the Grenada National Stadium, after which they held discussions with Prime Minister, Hon. Tillman Thomas. This mission supports Government's thrust to improve the Business Climate, a key priority of the 2009 Budget.
The Steering is made up of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance; the Comptrollers of Customs Inland Revenue; a Representative of Her Majesty's Opposition; and a Representative from the Trades Union Council, the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce; the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation, and the Grenada Hotel Association. The Committee is chaired by the Hon. Minister of Finance, Mr. Nazim Burke. MORNE LONGUE FARM ACCESS ROAD The Grenada Rural Enterprise Project (GREP) held a Handing Over Ceremony of the Morne Longue Farm
Participants at Presentation
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Staff Development and Training
NATIONAL CONSULTATION ON CUSTOMS AND PORTS OPERATIONS
Minister Burke and other presenters at Consultation
Participants in group discussion at Consultation
Participants in group discussion at Consultation
Ministry of Finance, Planning, Economy, Energy, Foreign Trade & Cooperatives Financial Complex, Carenage, St. Georgeâ€™s Tel.: 440-2731-34, 435-0057; Fax: 440-4115; Website: www.gov.gd; Email: email@example.com Contact: Petra Joseph, Editor-in-Chief, 440-2731, ext.: 1108/435-0057
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