Issuu on Google+

Finance INSIDE

GRENADA

A Publication of the Ministry of Finance, Planning, Economy, Energy & Cooperatives

Achievements

-

for 2009

1. -

Strengthening Economic Management Two successful reviews under the PRGF, resulting in disbursements of EC$33.6 million and strong commendation from the IMF for good economic management Tax Amnesty Programme which yielded EC$16.9 million Improved credit rating with Standard & Poors and Institutional Investor Magazine Preparation for implementation of VAT on February 1, 2010 is on schedule

2. -

Volume 5, Issue 6, November - December 2009

Reconvening of the Tax Tribunal who met, in April 2009, for the first time in many years. The commissioners of the tribunal are: Ms. Deborah St. Bernard – Attorney (Chairman) Mr. Cecil Edwards – former Comptroller of Inland Revenue Mr. Fitzroy O'Neale – former Banker Mr. Joseph Bain – former Accountant General Mr. Argar Alexander – former Cabinet Secretary The Secretary is Ms. Rhona Andrews A total eleven (11) meetings were held for the year. More systematic and timely reporting by the Statutory Bodies, on their financial performance Establishment of Waste Reduction Hotline (440-5883) in May 2009. Received an average of five (5) reports a day, on abuse of Government resources, over a six-month period Establishment of Procurement Unit Establishment of Debt Management Unit in January 2009. The Unit undertook a Debt Management Assessment Programme with the World Bank in June 2009 Passage of Money Services Business Act

Improving the Business Climate Enacted the Investment Promotion Act which gives investors a clear and predictable track on which to run Establishment of the Small Entrepreneurs Development Fund, in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth Development Appointed a separate Registrar for Corporate and Intellectual Property

3. -

Fostering Genuine Multipartite Partnership Formulation of draft Social Protocol, in collaboration with the private sector organizations, the non-governmental organizations, the hoteliers and the trade unions

4. -

Pursuing Energy Potential and Energy Efficiency Completed a new Energy Policy Implementation of Automatic Fuel Pricing Mechanism Boundary delimitation, spearheaded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

5. -

Tackling Cost of Living Repealed the National Reconstruction Levy (NRL) in January 2009 Provided relief to 7,172 households through the Duty Free Barrels Programme Completion of the Poverty Assessment Report Passed on lower fuel prices to consumers with the monthly adjustments thereby avoiding large fluctuations in prices Monthly release of Consumer Price Index which assisted businesses/the private sector in their planning process

-

6. -

Resource Mobilisation Unlocked a total of EC$28.3 million in grants from the European Union Comprehensive Project Management training for staff

“... the engine room of the Public Service...”


Objectivity Being part of a discussion with a number of persons one day, it dawned on me how easily a simple discussion can become a huge argument, because of differences in opinion and actual content. I say this because the discussion deteriorated into a huge argument, and that was simply because two individuals both thought they had the “facts” and that they were both right, when in fact neither had the “facts” straight and they were merely expressing what turned out to be their beliefs (opinions) and personal take on the matter. This brings me to an interesting quotation I found some time ago, which goes like: “The fewer the facts the stronger the opinions,” (anonymous) What this quote is saying is that statements become highly opinionated when the facts are not known or in other words objectivity is lost when personal opinions overrule statements of truths or facts. Objectivity - What is it? According to an internet source, objectivity can refer to fairness, factuality, and nonpartisanship, but most often encompasses all of these qualities. Another source cites objectivity as judgment based on observable phenomena and uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices. And yet another source describes objectivity as an impersonal presentation of events and characters. In addressing an issue from an objective viewpoint, it suggests you should be looking at it as an outsider or third person; like a "fly on the wall", you should attempt to observe carefully all of the details pertaining to the issue and if required to, then simply report on your findings or what you observed. Objectivity is a quality in writing or presenting that is characterized by the absence of the author's opinion or feeling about the subject matter. In presenting things objectively, a person must remove himself or herself from any personal or subjective involvement and present the facts as is, however limited the facts may be. Objectivity is not fiction nor is it hearsay; it is the 'real deal.'

2 Finance INSIDE

So why is this important? If you listen carefully to many of the discussions that are taking place around us, on a twenty-four hour cycle (both locally and abroad) and pay attention to the facts or 'substance' of the discussions, you would realize that many of them are not necessary and that is because they lack objectivity. I am not saying that healthy discussions are not good, because they are good stimulants for the brain, and are sometimes intended to be the precursor to other discussions or outcomes of a particular objectivity. What I am saying is that some of the discussions (and here I mean those that are turning out to be perpetual/ongoing arguments) are so 'far fetched' and 'tired' that they are becoming annoying. And when what is being said is dissected in an objective manner, you would realize that the persons or presenters of these arguments or discussions are not speaking the facts but are presenting their opinions and agendas; the realization or determination could also be made that sometimes they know or have the facts but choose to ignore it on purpose and instead present their opinions as fact. What could be dangerous with this situation is that there could be and often times are those who listen to these persons and believe what they say and go out repeating these opinions as if it is the gospel. Then when the facts or statements of truths are presented, it makes it look like a story is being fabricated to do damage control. So as you can see in this example, that the lack of objectivity can cause chaos indeed. Don't get me wrong though; I am not saying that opinions are not good or necessary, because they too have their place. However, persons have to learn when objectivity should play the leading role in a discussion, especially when the facts are available. As you reflect, you may be asking yourself, “What is the better approach I should adopt the next time I participate in a discussion or argument?” Should I do my research and come prepared with all my facts as compared to relying on my biases or opinions?” In actual fact, neither objectivity nor subjectivity is "better". Both are useful in their own rights, but they must be used selectively. To become MORE RESPONSIBLE INDIVIDUALS, one needs to know when to leave personal opinions at the door and when it is necessary 'to bring them inside'. If not, then he or she must be prepared to stand the consequences of the decision made.

“... the engine room of the Public Service...”

Petra


Let me also thank our guests. We have with us a team from the Caribbean Development Bank (Mr. Elbert Ellis, Operations Officer and focal point – CPA, Christine Dawson, Country Economist, Grenada). In addition to many other areas, the Caribbean Development Bank has been supporting Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) across the region in the conduct of CPAs as part of the Bank's effort to target more benefit from its development interventions to the poor. For this reason, I would like to record my appreciation to the CDB for the tremendous support that they have given over the years. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Henry, Lead Consultant – Kairi Consultants and his team for the tremendous amount of work that they have put into this process up to this stage. Let me also thank the independent reviewers of the Report who are here with us today – our own Dr. Wayne Sandiford and Mr. Colin Williams of Jamaica, who is the regional reviewer. I am sure you would find their reviews quite useful in your own knowledge and understanding of the results. I wish to also recognize the members of the National Assessment Team for their involvement in this important process.

Hon. V. Nazim Burke Address at The National Consultation on The Draft Final Report of

The Country Poverty Assessment (CPA) For Grenada December 03, 2009 Hon. V. Nazim Burke Minister For Finance, Planning, Economy, Energy and Cooperatives I am pleased to address you at this critical juncture in what we consider a very important process. Not too long ago, we received the Draft Report on the 2008 Country Poverty Assessment for Grenada (CPA), an initiative which started in early 2007. Today, we are at the stage where an in-country review of the Report is being conducted leading up to its finalization and adoption by all stakeholders. This National Consultation is the culmination of four (4) days of activities which included a presentation to Cabinet Ministers, a media briefing on the results and two days of community consultations, including on Carriacou. We are very pleased that you are able to be with us today to partake in this important exercise and we would like to thank you for coming.

Ladies and gentlemen, reducing poverty levels and creating a better life for our citizens are front and centre of Government's social and economic agenda. We are very clear that our people are our most important resource and that our ability to overcome challenges hinges on the way in which we address the major issues facing them. A high and rising poverty level is one such major challenge. It is no secret that the results of the survey are very disturbing to us as policymakers. The survey revealed that while the indigence rate (critically poor) has declined from 12.9% to 2.4% between 1998 and 2008, the poverty rate has increased by 5.6% to 37.7%. Although not a strict measure of comparison, the survey showed that the poverty rate in Grenada was only second to Dominica within the ECCU. The parishes of St. Mark, St. Patrick and St. Andrew had poverty rates of 54.46%, 56.67% and 44.86 %, respectively, rates which fall way above the national average of 37.7%. Equally of concern, is the fact that another 14.6% of the population was considered vulnerable or in danger of becoming poor. That being said, much of the details of the Report will be revealed during the course of today. It is important to note however, that over 12 months have past since the major survey work was conducted. Today, we are in the midst of one of the most severe global economic slowdown not seen since the global depression of the 1930s. As we have indicated earlier, with the onset of the global economic crisis, the poverty situation is estimated to have deteriorated. In small economies like ours, with debt levels in excess of 100 percent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and declining revenues and grants, the challenges that we face in reducing poverty and unemployment is huge. Continues on pg. 4

“... the engine room of the Public Service...”

Finance 3 INSIDE


Continued from pg. 3

Notwithstanding the difficulties that we faced throughout this year, Government has made some critical interventions that will better position us to tackle the issues of poverty and unemployment. Earlier this year, the Cabinet took a decision to reprioritize our capital spending, focusing on those projects that would provide the greatest economic stimulation. This created over 650 jobs in road maintenance and another 300 in the agriculture sector. At the same time significant steps were taken to satisfy the increase demand for safety nets as a direct result of the crisis. On June 10, 2009, the Government signed a MOU with the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA) on the basis on job preservation. We believe that compared to other Caribbean Countries Grenada, can boast of experiencing one of the lowest job loss rates during this crisis. We are very proud of this because to the extent, we can preserve current jobs; persons will be in a position to meet their daily commitments like sending their children to school and meeting the mortgage payments. Additionally, with the support of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, the United Nations Children Fund and the World Bank, a detailed assessment of Grenada social safety nets was conducted with a view to ensuring that the system is responsive and effective. The report was presented to the authorities in September, 2009 and proved very instructive and informative. The report revealed that Grenada had a plethora of safety nets programmes, including the highest level of safety net as a % of GDP in the region. The report made some useful recommendations, including the articulation of a Social Protection Strategy and the establishment of a Central Beneficiary Registry, to facilitate better targeting.

Grenada. Without sound reliable statistics, policy makers would not be able to do so. What then are the next steps? With grant assistance from the CDB, we intend to elaborate a Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Plan (PRSAP) by the middle of 2010 utilizing the results of these studies. The PRSAP, prepared through a participatory process, will among other objectives, devise an appropriate, coherent and comprehensive strategy for reducing poverty in Grenada. In this regard, we wish to challenge Kairi to complete the Report in the next couple of weeks to allow the PRSAP to commence early in the New Year. I want to also challenge each and every one of you to support this process as well as the work that will be required to complete the PRSAP. Let us work together to build this country – to lift those of our citizens living in poverty out of poverty deprivation. We owe them this pledge. In the end, it will redound to the benefit of us all. Let me say in closing that I again want to thank you for being here. I thank the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for their support and involvement in this process. In addition, I want to thank Kairi Consultants who have again shown themselves as capable partners in the conduct of CPAs. Last but not least, I want to thank the National Assessment Team, comprising the National Co-ordinator, representatives from government institutions and Ministries and other civil society groups who worked alongside the Consultants with the aim of building local capacity to undertake future assessments. Thank you again, everyone, and let me assure you that your time and effort here today will be greatly appreciated.

With the CPA almost complete and the findings of the Social Safety Net Assessment available, we are now in a better position to answer critical questions such as: 1. 2. 3. 4.

What has happened to our nation's poor over the last decade? Has the characteristics, extent geographic concentration, severity and root causes of poverty changed during that time? What structures are needed to ensure that our safety net programmes are better targeted? Have the responses by Government, NGOs, CBOs and other institutions effective?

Only then can we meaningfully deal with poverty. Only then can we identify the interventions that will increase the productivity of vulnerable groups and individuals so that they can lift themselves out of poverty and contribute to the building of

4 Finance INSIDE

Cross section of persons at presentation of Interim CPA Report

“... the engine room of the Public Service...�


CPA IN FINAL STAGES The Draft Final Report of the 2007/08 Country Poverty Assessment (CPA) for Grenada was presented to Cabinet on Monday November 30, 2009 by Kairi Consultants, Trinidad & Tobago.

A Briefing at the Boogles Community Centre for the people of Carriacou on Wednesday December 2nd, 2009; and

This presentation to Cabinet formed part of an “in-country review” of the CPA leading up to its finalisation.

A National Consultation at the Grenada Trade Centre on Thursday December 3rd, 2009. This Consultation was attended by representatives of Ministries, nongovernmental organisations, community groups, and the general public.

A delegation from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), headed by Mr. Desmond Brunton, Vice President of Operations, was also present at the Cabinet briefing since the CPA was jointly funded by the Government of Grenada and the CDB. The other activities of the “in-country review” included: •

A Media Seminar on the results of the survey Monday 30th November 2009 at the Ministry of Works Conference Room;

Briefings with the communities of Telescope, St. Andrew's and Gouyave, St. John's at the Telescope Primary School and the Gouyave Pastoral Centre respectively, on Tuesday December 1st , 2009;

At the end of the “in country review” the Consultants were asked to make revisions to the report, based on feedback obtained from their Consultations, so that the document can be finalised. The overall objective of the CPA was to assess the conditions affecting the welfare of people, and use these findings to identify policies and projects that would sustainably reduce the extent and severity of poverty and improve the overall quality of life in Grenada. The results of the report will be used by Government to prepare a Poverty Reduction and Growth Action Plan for Grenada in 2010. The following tables represent some of the figures presented in the report:

COUNTRY POVERTY ASSESSMENT Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique 2007/08 TABLE 1: COMPARISON OF 1998 AND 2008 POVERTY RATES

Grenada Poverty Indicators (1995 and 2007/08 Compared)

% Individuals 1998

% Individuals 2008

Indigence Rate

12.9

2.4

Poverty Headcount Index (Poverty Rate)

32.1

37.7

Vulnerability Rate (Vulnerable but not Poor)

n/a

14.6

COUNTRY POVERTY ASSESSMENT Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique 2007/08 TABLE 5.5: HEADCOUNT, POVERTY GAP AND POVERTY SEVERITY BY PARISH 2008

Parish

Poverty Headcount

Poverty Gap

Poverty Severity

St. George

35.10

10.03

4.23

St. George Town

15.00

3.40

1.59

St. John

36.67

8.77

3.05

St. Mark

54.46

18.29

9.23

St. Patrick

56.67

15.96

6.80

St. Andrew

44.86

10.56

3.53

St. David

29.49

8.68

3.64

Carriacou

6.57

2.40

0.90

37.70

10.13

4.03

Total

“... the engine room of the Public Service...”

Finance 5 INSIDE


Summary Indicators of Living conditions in Grenada (2007/08) • • • • •

• • •

• •

• •

• • • • • • •

The annual Indigence Line was estimated at E$2,394 per annum per adult. The annual Poverty Line was estimated at EC$5,842 per annum per adult in 2008. The Vulnerability Line (set at 25 percent above the Poverty Line) was EC$7,302 per adult per annum. 37.7 percent of the population was deemed to be poor in 2008, and 2.4 percent was deemed to be indigent. The highest incidence of poverty was found in St. Patrick - 56.67 percent of residents in this parish were deemed to be poor. The lowest incidence of poverty was found in Carriacou 6.57 percent of resident poor. The Poverty gap index for the country was 10.13 and the Poverty Severity Index was 4.03 (2008). The Gini coefficient of inequality was estimated to be 0.37 in 2008. The richest 10 percent of the population accounted for 29.76 percent of total consumption expenditure, while the poorest 10 percent accounted for a mere 2.88 percent of total consumption. 40.2 percent of household heads rated their social and economic circumstances as being worse now compared to one year ago; 16 percent felt that their economic situation had "remained the same". According to the perception of those deemed to be among the poorest only 37 percent of household heads in the lowest quintile rated themselves as poor. Males are more at risk of being poor than females - 39.5 percent of all males were deemed "poor" compared to 36.2 percent of all females, although the unemployment rate is drastically higher among women (31.8%) than men (17.9%). The average size of households in the poorest quintile was 5 persons, compared to an average of 2 persons per household in the quintile V. The proportion of households using pit latrines fell from 54 percent in 1998 to 36.3 percent in 2008. However, among the poorest households the percentage using pit latrines grew from 66.7 in 1998 to 72.3 in 2008, the majority of poor households 66.6% used pit latrines. 90 percent of all households used electricity for lighting, with the poorest up from 75.9 in 1998 to 79.1 in 2008. The National Unemployment Rate was 24.9 percent, but the unemployment rate among the poor was 34.9 percent. The Services Industry employed the largest proportion of persons (34.3%), followed by the construction which employed 19.0 percent of the labour force. 63.7 percent of the poorest workers were paid employees with private employers. 59.5 percent of Grenadians work a 35-40 hours a week. Primary level education was most likely to be the highest level of education attained (65.2%) among heads of households in 2008. Diabetes and High Blood Pressure were the two most prevalent lifestyle diseases overall (30.5% and 61.4% respectively of persons suffering chronic diseases). 40.3 percent of females had their first child between the ages of 15-19 years.

6 Finance INSIDE

“... the engine room of the Public Service...”


UPDATE ON THE 2009 DUTY FREE BARRELS INITIATIVE The following is a breakdown of the data on the Duty-free Barrel Initiative (DBI) for the period October 1st to December 31st 2009 with a comparison for the previous period October 2008 to January 2009. Total for the Period October 1st – December 31st 2009

Month

No. of Persons/ Households

October November December Total

746 1271 5155 7172

CIF Value

Duties and taxes foregone

$162,555. $299,155. $1,174,940. $1,636,650

$89,405. $164,535. $646,217. $900,158.

Total for the period October 1st 2008 – January 31st, 2009

Month

October November December January Total

No. of Persons/ Households 946 1262 6427 546 9181

CIF Value

Duties and taxes foregone

$212,240. $304,532. $1,329,455. $117,150. $1,963,377.

$116,733. $167,492. $731,200. $64,433. $1,079,858.

The DBI was initiated as part of Government's commitment to do all it can to ease the burden on all households, especially the poor and vulnerable, forgoing much needed revenues in the process.

FINANCIALTip

Avoid Sales

Often, it is almost impossible to turn down a bargain. Your favourite shop is on sale, and everything is 50% off! So what do you do? Take out your calendar and see whose birthday is coming up. Buy something keeping that person in mind don't just buy randomly, thinking you will give it to someone. Buy it, bring it home, and put it in a bag with the person's name on it, so you know you have to give it to that person. Avoid buying something for yourself unless it is on the list. If you must get something, buy one item not two just because it's half-price. It's not on your list, remember! If you shop wisely, you will be able to save up for things you really want, and will have a better-planned wardrobe, and a more beautiful home. So think about that the next time you see a huge 'sale' sign posted on your favourite shop, and, hard as it may be, walk past.

“... the engine room of the Public Service...”

Finance 7 INSIDE


Coco

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (2001) = 100) CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (2001) = 100) NOVEMBERNovember 2009 2009 % CHANGE

INDEX POINTS CPI GROUPINGS

Weight

Nov- 09

Nov- 08

Nov-07

Oct-09

Nov-09/ Nov-08

Nov- 08/ Nov 09/ Nov–07 Oct-09

36.75

137.81

145.06 129.27

137.80

-5.00

12.21

0.01

ALCOHOLIC,, DRINK & TOBACCO

0.86

118.97

116.94 112.50

118.63

1.74

3.95

0.29

CLOTHING, FOOTWEAR & ACCESSORIES

9.77

97.41

99.19

97.41

-1.69

-0.11

0.00

10.20

125.81

125.12 122.68

125.86

0.55

1.99

-0.04

FUEL AND LIGHT

5.50

132.92

159.91 138.96

131.66 -16.88

15.08

0.96

HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE & FURNISHING

9.53

110.74

109.01 106.73

110.71

1.59

2.14

0.03

MEDICAL CARE & HEALTH EXPENSES

4.65

126.32

126.83 125.90

126.33

-0.40

0.74

-0.01

15.65

130.80

134.32 127.47

130.80

-2.62

5.37

0.00

EDUCATION

3.74

125.06

124.25 119.01

125.06

0.65

4.40

0.00

PERSONAL SERVICES

1.60

114.74

109.00 101.99

114.74

5.27

6.87

0.00

OTHER EXPENSES

1.75

115.21

111.90 109.93

114.96

2.96

1.79

0.22

100.0

126.75

130.93 122.28

126.68

-3.19

7.07

0.06

FOOD INCLUDING NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINKS

ACCOMMODATION

TRANSPORTATION & COMMUNICATIONS

TOTAL

99.08

The above table shows the Consumer Price Index for the month of November 2009 with changes from the previous month October 2009 and the corresponding month of last year November 2008. The overall index moved from 126.68 index points in October 2009 to 126.75 index points in November 2009 representing a marginal increase of 0.06%. The major group “Food including Non-Alcoholic Drinks” which has the highest weight in the Consumer Basket, showed a slight increase of 0.01%, representing a price increase in the following subgroups: “Breakfast Foods” 0.83%, “Poultry” 1.06%, “Fresh Fruits” 0.89%, “Preserved Fruits” 2.69%, “Vegetables” 1.52%, “Hot Beverages” 6.01% and “Partially Prepared Foods”1.71%. The following items contributed to these increases:- cream of wheat 4.76%, weetabix 1.45%, chicken 0.66%, grapefruit 6.50%, ripe bananas 7.52%, pawpaw 13.42%, avocado 25.75%, dried fruits 2.53%, tomatoes 17.40%, pumpkin 8.32%, callaloo 5.48%, green pigeon peas 5.26%, cabbage 6.26%, sweet pepper 7.87%, green bananas 8.83%, plantains 5.68%, cocoa powder 7.23%, chicken noodles 2.77% and peanuts 2.66%. Despite these increases there were noticeable decreases within the major groups namely:- biscuit 0.47%, rice 3.53%, flour 1.02%, macaroni 2.01%, pig feet 1.87%, luncheon meat 2.12%, salted fish 1.28%, milk 1.56%, eggs 3.91%, oranges 5.79%, manderine 6.51%, limes 14.00%, lettuce 1.40%, beets 3.62%, onions 3.76%, chive and celery 4.31%, split peas 3.60%, irish potatoes 5.10%, yeast 2.32% and mayonnaise 2.29%. “Alcoholic Drink and Tobacco” showed an increase of 0.29% due to an increase in the price of imported beer by 0.42% and local rum 1.59%. “Fuel and Light” increased by 0.96%, which was mainly influenced by an increase in the price of electricity by 2.38%. “Other Expenses” increased by 0.22% due an increase in the price of toilet soap 2.44%, and sanitary pads 0.53%. The other groups showed marginal changes. Relative to the corresponding month of last year, the Consumer Price Index moved from 130.93 index points in November 2008 to 126.75 index points in November 2009 representing a decrease of negative 3.19%. The following major groups contributed to these decreases:- “Food including Non Alcoholic Drinks” (5.00%), “Fuel and Light” (16.88%) and “Transportation and Communication” (2.62%). The following items contributed to these decreases:- rice (14.62%), flour (8.28%), jacks (11.1%), powdered full cream milk (36.11%), cheddar cheese (26.08%), pawpaw (10.18%), limes (13.82%), tomatoes (17.28%) onions (10.55%), split peas (15.61%), dasheen (16.92%) irish potatoes (10.70%), green bananas (10.94%), plantains (10.86%) and vinegar (10.45%), electricity (18.17%), kerosene (31.49%) cooking gas (12.12%) and gasoline (27.16%). However there was a noticeable increase in “Personal Services” by (5.27%), due to an increase in the price of hairdresser fee by (12.00%). The prices of Petroleum Products with the exception of electricity remain flat for the month of November, despite increases on the international market. This was due to government intervention. Accordingly the inflation rate for the period November 2009 is negative 3.19%. This rate can be compared to an increase of 7.07% for the same period 2008. ........................................... Director of Statistics

8 Finance INSIDE

“... the engine room of the Public Service...”


Highlights of the Achievements of the Customs & Excise Department for 2009 The Customs and Excise Department performed well in the areas of focus highlighted in the 2009 Budget Speech delivered by Hon. V. Nazim Burke in 2008. The following table summarizes the achievements. Mr. Carlyle Felix Comptroller of Customs

Areas of Focus in Budget Speech 2009 VAT Preparation Completion of Fraud Control Strategy and Plan

Implementation of ASYCUDA World

Preparation of New Customs Laws Revision of the Customs Tariff.

Training of Staff Create Website

Status The department is up to date in terms of the activities in Customs & Excise VAT Implementation Plan The strategy and plan has been completed as Phase I. Phase II will be the implementation of the recommendations agreed to by the Project Steering Committee. As component of the Grenada Technical Assistance Credit Project which was launched in October 2009, a reasonable amount of progress has been made since. The next major activity will be the signing of the agreement between UNCTAD and Government. UNCTAD is prepared to commence phase I (the pilot on the St. George’s Port) approximately one month after the signing of the agreement. Both the new Customs Act and the supporting Regulations have been completed. Parliament’s approval is expected by March 2010. The New CARICOM Common External Tariff, based on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System version 2007 (HS2007) was prepared and passed by Parliament in December 2009. The document is currently being published in the Gazette. The implementation date is February 1, 2010. Approximately 90 percent of the training plan has been achieved. The address is www.grenadacustoms.com.

The Department has also made improvements in the level of staffing at the Department; both in terms of the filling of the long outstanding vacancies and promotions. This has had a positive impact on staff morale and customer service.

“... the engine room of the Public Service...”

Finance 9 INSIDE


A Must Read

HANDBOOK 2010 Health: 1. Drink plenty of water. 2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar. 3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants. 4. Live with the 3 E's - Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy. 5. Make time to pray. 6. Play more games. 7. Read more books than you did in 2009. 8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. 9. Sleep for 7 hours. 10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk - smile. Personality: 11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. 12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment. 13. Don't overdo. Keep your limits. 14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does. 15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip. 16. Dream more while you are awake. 17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. 18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness. 19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others. 20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

Origin unknown

21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you. 22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime. 23. Smile and laugh more. 24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. Society: 25. Call your family often. 26. Each day give something good to others. 27. Forgive everyone for everything. 28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6. 29. Try to make at least three people smile each day. 30. What other people think of you is none of your business. 31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch. Life: 32. Do the right thing! 33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful. 34. GOD heals everything. 35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change. 36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up. 37. The best is yet to come. 38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it. 39. Your innermost is always happy. So, be happy. Last but not the least: 40. Share this with everyone you care about.

T

he Minister of Finance, Planning, Economy, Energy & Cooperatives, 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.

room of the Public Co-ordinating Service...” Finance Visit“... thetoengineProject Unit 12 Minister's INSIDE


Facts Fun &

Did U Know? -

That the number for the “Hotline” to report the misuse and abuse of Government resources is 440-5883? That the number for the “VAT Hotline” is 435-9085?

Fun Facts -

Have a laugh...

All Is Fair In Business

A shopkeeper was dismayed when a brand new business much like his own opened up next door and erected a huge sign which read 'BEST DEALS.' He was horrified when another competitor opened up on his right, and announced its arrival with an even larger sign, reading 'LOWEST PRICES.'

The cruise liner Queen Elizabeth II, moves only six inches for each gallon of fuel that it burns. Ketchup was sold in the 1830s as medicine.

Riddle

The shopkeeper panicked, until he got an idea. He put the biggest sign of all over his own shop. It read: 'MAIN ENTRANCE!'

Perception

- What letter is next in this sequence? O, T, T, F, F, S, S, E, __ Answer: N for nine How can you use the letters in NEW DOOR to make one word? Answer: One Word

A man was sitting on a bus chewing gum and staring vacantly into space. Suddenly the old woman sitting opposite him said, "It's no good you talking to me young man, I'm stone deaf."

What in an automobile engine serves no purpose but without it the engine does not work? Answer: Noise

Something to try

Quotations

1) Lift your right foot of the floor.

-

2) Move your ankle in a clockwise motion.

-

3) while doing this, make the #6 in the air with your right hand.

-

Fools live to regret their words, wise men live to regret their silence. Every man has a right to be wrong in his opinions; but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts. It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument.

Your foot changes direction doesn't it. “... the engine room of the Public Service...”

Finance 13 INSIDE


Excerpts from the Eulogy (read by Donan Victor - Deputy Comptroller of Customs)

Tribute to Wayne Francis - Customs Officer study. In 1986 he returned to the St. Dominic's R. C. School this time as a teacher until he joined the Customs Staff in 1993 until the time of his passing. During his time at the Customs Division, he journeyed to various destinations to attend Seminars and Workshops; he embraced these opportunities as he always believed in self improvement. He also worked in several sections within Customs where he left his trademark of neatness and fairness behind. At the time of his passing he was attached to the Entry Processing Unit. Wayne Francis attended the St. Dominic's R. C. School as a young boy and then moved onto the Grenada Boys' Secondary School where he excelled in all areas of

14 Finance INSIDE

If there were three words that would adequately describe Wayne they would be quiet, trustworthy and meticulous, because that's what he was, truly meticulous! He truly brought to life the

“... the engine room of the Public Service...”

saying, “still waters run deep.” May his soul rest in peace.


FFinance inance INSIDE

What’s Been Happening

which starts with raising the awareness of customs officers on their role in implementing environmental protection.

GREEN CUSTOMS INITIATIVE Mr. Donan Victor, Deputy Comptroller and Ms. Lauren Brizan, of the Customs and Excise Department, attended Green

Mr. Donan Victor receiving documents

Customs officers' training is also to be an important element of the national implementation of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals in International Trade, and, to a different extent, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

and results in revenue loss for governments. Management of the Ozone Unit and Customs Officers at Hand Over Ceremony

Customs Initiative (GCI) workshop in the Dominican Republic from November 24th - 26th 2009. The main objectives of the Workshop were to: o Capacitate the Senior National Trainers from representing countries and regional institutes; o Agree on a Feedback reporting mechanism for follow-up training to be done by the trained trainers; o Create awareness-raising, in conformity with the objectives of the Green Customs Initiative; and o Agree on a Draft National Green Customs Training Module to be adapted at National Customs Training Schools. Background on Initiative Illegal international trade in “environmentally-sensitive” commodities such as ozone depleting substances (ODSs), toxic chemicals, hazardous wastes and endangered species is an international problem with serious consequences: it directly threatens human health and the environment, contributes to species loss,

Another serious effect of illegal trade in environmentally sensitive commodities is that it also seriously undermines the effectiveness of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) by circumventing rules and procedures agreed in international treaties. MEAs are legally-binding global accords that address global environmental issues. Ms. Lauren Brizan receiving documents

Most environmental problems encountered in the world today have a trans-boundary nature and a global impact, and they can only be addressed effectively through the kind of international co-operation and shared responsibility made possible through MEAs. Several MEAs regulate the crossborder movement of items, substances and products, mainly in the form of imports, exports and re-exports. This gives the front-line Customs and borderprotection officers responsible for controlling trade across borders a very important role in protecting the national and global environment.

However, customs agencies operating in isolation are not sufficient to monitor the trade of environmentally-sensitive commodities. Customs co-operate with multiple government agencies which have an interest in the movement of goods, including environment agencies but also health and safety and enforcement. At the national level, Customs is but one element of a “compliance and enforcement chain” that includes:

Building the capacity of enforcement officers like Customs, who are at the forefront of every country's efforts to combat illegal trade, is vital. Training is a key component of capacity building “... the engine room of the Public Service...”

a)

Monitoring, detection, and seizure of illegal shipments by customs agencies; b) Prosecution of criminal cases involving such shipments by prosecuting attorneys; and c) Appropriate sentencing by the judiciary. Continues on pg. 16

Finance 15 INSIDE


Continued from pg. 15

The World Customs Organization (WCO) offers extensive training to customs officers with the objective of ensuring the implementation and uniform application of the customs conventions that it administers. The purpose of the Green Customs Initiative is to raise the capacity of customs officers on several multilateral environmental agreements at the same time, which can complement separate, specific training on each individual agreement. This partnership of international organizations aims at enhancing customs' capacity to detect and act on illegal trade in environmentallysensitive items covered by the related agreements. In the same manner it looks for assisting customs in the facilitation of legal trade in these items. This is achieved through awareness-raising on all related MEAs and agreements, to make customs officers aware of these issues by developing common tools and programmes across partners to this initiative. The expected outcome of the Workshop was that it will contribute to enhanced capacity of the participants so that they will be able to: •

Create awareness amongst regional agencies on each of the specific MEAs and their role in assisting countries in compliance management; Develop and Agree on a Draft National Green Customs Training Module based on the Green Customs Guide to be adapted as a national customs training schools; Create awareness among customs officers on their role in enforcing MEAs; Present the trade aspects of each of these MEAs and the impact on customs officers; Have knowledge of sources of information on MEA implementation, enabling them to stay aware of the latest developments; Highlight inter-linkages and possible synergies in enforcement of the various MEAs; and Encourage networking amongst participating countries and regional agencies.

CHINA AND GRENADA SIGN MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MOU) The Government of Grenada and the People's Republic of China on Friday, December 3rd 2009, signed three (3) instruments pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on January 20, 2005 between the two Countries. The MOU in 2005 addressed the normalization of relations as well the

These instruments were banking agreements on accounting procedures between the Ministry of Finance of Grenada and China Development Bank for implementing the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreements

Deputy P.S. Mike Sylvester and Chinese Representative signing Memorandum

Minister Burke and Chinese Ambassador signing Memorandum

implementation of Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreements signed on subsequent dates. The first instrument of December 3rd 2009 – a Certificate of Acceptance in respect of a grant of US$1.0M for 2009 – was signed by the Hon. V. Nazim Burke, Minister of Finance for and on behalf of the Government of Grenada and H. E. Zhang Wanhai, Ambassador of China for and on behalf of the Government of the People's Republic of China.

between the Government of Grenada and the People's Republic of China signed on December 30, 2008 and June 17, 2009, respectively. The two agreements combined provide for gratuitous aid of RMB100.0M (approx. US$14.6M) to be used for projects to be agreed upon between the two Governments, including affordable housing for Grenadians. In thanking the Government of the People's Republic of China (PRC), Minister Burke expressed pleasure at the signing saying: “The imminent release of these funds is timely as Government completes a very challenging fiscal year.” He assured Ambassador Wanhai of Grenada's commitment to strong economic management and reaffirmed the value Grenada places on its strong and progressive relations with PRC. The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Officials of the Ministry of Finance and the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Grenada.

Minister Burke and Chinese Ambassador exchanging pleasantries

The remaining two (2) instruments were signed by Mr. Mike J. Sylvester, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Mr. Zhang Peng, First Secretary, Economic and Commercial Office, Chinese Embassy in Grenada.

WTO/WCO GATT VALUATION TRAINING WORKSHOP FOR CUSTOMS OFFICIALS & KEY STAKEHOLDERS Thirty persons, including fifteen Customs Officials and representatives from key institutions, are participated in a Valuation Training Workshop on the General Agreements on Tariff and Trade (GAAT) at the Grenada National Stadium. Continues on pg. 17

16 Finance INSIDE

“... the engine room of the Public Service...”


Continued from pg. 16

The Workshop was hosted by the Department of Customs and Excise of the Ministry of Finance, Planning, Economy, Energy and Cooperatives, and the Trade Unit of the Ministry of Environment, Foreign Trade and Cooperatives. According to the local coordinator of the Workshop, Ms. Lyndonna HillaireMarshall, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, “The aim of the workshop was to familiarise participants with Customs Valuation in the GATT system, while highlighting the different methodologies that can be used to determine the customs value of imports.” She further stated that, “the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in collaboration with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) consented to provide technical assistance to Grenada through the sponsoring of the GAAT Valuation Training Workshop.” Mr. Terdsak Suvarnamani, a Valuation Expert (with twenty years experience in that field), attached to the Trade and Tariff Directorate, WCO as a Technical Advisor, was the facilitator of the Workshop.

PUBLIC SIGNING OF MANAGEMENT CONTRACT FOR SMALL DEVELOPMENT FUND On Friday December 18, 2009, the Government of Grenada held a public signing of the Management Contract for the Small Development Fund, with the Grenada Cooperative Bank Ltd. and the River Sallee Cooperative Credit Union. The signing took place at the Ministry of Finance Conference Room.

The Customs Department therefore regarded this and other training as very important for the Department as it strives to improve on its means to facilitate trade. The Workshop was held from Monday December 7, 2009 to Thursday December 10, 2009 with a short closing session where Certificates of Participation were issued.

f.

Economic diversification and poverty alleviation; and Demand stimulation and growth facilitation.

Guests at signing of Management Contract

Head table at signing of Management Contract

The Small Business Development Fund, which was launched on July 7, 2009, aims to facilitate the creation of viable small enterprises through the provision of capital, skills training, and advisory services to the small business sector.

The key components of the Workshop, were the preparation for the implementation GATT Valuation, identifying the necessary tools and instruments to assist with Customs Control in the new valuation system. “This is critical since Grenada is serious about meeting most of its obligations with the WTO so that the country can be positioned to draw down on the assistance that can be made available to help with the development of the country,” Ms. Marshall said.

e.

What can the Fund be used for? • Purchase of equipment • Purchase of raw material / packaging material • Buffer the effects of short term receivables Who can access the Fund? • Lower income persons who have great business ideas but few or no avenues to access affordable business credit • Unemployed or under employed persons • Small businesses with limited access to commercial credit. Loan Size and Interest Rate: • A minimum of $500 and a maximum of $20,000 • Interest rate between five percent (5%) and seven percent (7%) of the borrowed amount Repayment Period: • Maximum of five (5) years

Signing of Management Contract

It is expected that the facility will be of particular benefit to young entrepreneurs given the nature of its establishment which is detailed hereunder: Objectives of Fund: The objectives of the Fund are: a. b. c. d.

Development of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship skills; Creation of employment opportunities; Institutional strengthening; Improving the image of the small business sector;

Collateral Required: • Property or fixed asset • Bill of sale on equipment • Crop lien • Letter of Guarantor How can the Fund be accessed? • Register, enroll and complete the Business Development Centre's Entrepreneurial Skills Development Training Programme • Prepare Business Plan for submission to the chosen financial institution along with other supporting documents.

“... the engine room of the Public Service...”

Continues on pg. 18

Finance 17 INSIDE


Continued from pg. 17

The context of this Fund is the commitment made by the Minister for Finance in his budget speech on 12th December 2008, in which he stated government's intention to give special support to young business entrepreneurs u n d e r t h e Yo u n g E n t r e p r e n e u r s Development Fund. He indicated that Government will cap its exposure at $1million, with carefully worked out conditions. This commitment was restated by the Prime Minister when he announced the Economic Stimulus Package on April 1st, 2009. CUSTOMS MEET WITH CUSTOMS BROKERS & DUTY FREE SHOP OWNERS On Friday December 11, 2009 the Customs Division engaged the operators of Duty Free Shops and their Customs Brokers in an information session with the aim being to inform them about the adjustments in procedures which would

Participants at meeting

become necessary when the Value Added Tax is implemented on February 1, 2010. There was healthy discussion around the subject, especially the areas of the time of accounting for VAT and the availability of adequate Customs staff to accommodate the various operators at any given time. More experienced operators took the opportunity to share with newer operators

Participants at meeting

the types of software and hardware which they can acquire to make inventory control more efficient and less time

18 Finance INSIDE

consuming for both themselves and the Customs Division. The discussion was held at the Grenada Board of Tourism Conference Room and was facilitated by Mr. David De Coteau Customs Representative on the VAT implementation Team. Other Customs officials present were Mr. Solomon Granger – Supervisor of the General Office, Mr. Adrian Cadore – Duty Free Desk Officer, and Ms. Rosemin Stanislaus – Public Relations Officer.

Participants at meeting

This session formed part of a series of sessions conducted by the Customs Division throughout the months of September – December where various stakeholders (Customs Brokers, Importers, Exporters) were briefed on topics such as What is VAT? The Design of VAT, What is Excise Tax and reasons for its implementation, VAT and Exports? However, participants were given a more in-depth look at how VAT and Excise Tax are calculated, the new codes and duty/tax bases to be used, the new CARISAD form along with the New Tariff and Transitional measures.

development in the Caribbean region, develop an understanding of the Caribbean Regional e-Government strategy, and harmonize the national public administration needs of Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent with their potential for e-Government development. The training also allowed for the sharing of the views of CARICAD and the United Nations on these matters. The training was held at the Flamboyant Hotel. It brought together approximately thirty participants from Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, including senior policy makers, practitioners and government officials, as well as representatives from CARICAD and UNDESA. EVENT PLANNING AND PROTOCOL WORKSHOP Mrs. Gail Marshall-Muriel and Mrs. Petra Charles-Joseph, represented the Ministry of Finance in an Event Management and Protocol Workshop which was organised by the Department of Public Administration as part of their in-service training programme. The Workshop was held at the National Stadium and ran from November 2 - 3, and November 11, 2009. The main objective of the Workshop was to upgrade the skills of public officers as it relates to event planning, including protocol matters. The facilitators or the

Similar sessions were held in Grenville and Carriacou. CAPACITY BUILDING IN KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND E-GOVERNMENT Mr. Mike Sylvester, Mrs. Abiola Streete, Mr. Dorran Stranch, Mr. Winston Cruickshank and Mrs. Petra CharlesJoseph attended a Capacity Building in Knowledge Management and EGovernment training Workshop on December 9, 2009. The aims of the Workshop were to explore the current issues and challenges of electronic and mobile government

“... the engine room of the Public Service...”

Gail Muriel and Petra Joseph with Mrs. Bierzynski

Workshop were Mrs. Hazel Bierzynski and Mrs. Alice Thomas-Roberts.

Welcome

TO ALL NEW MEMBERS OF STAFF


Finance INSIDE

MINISTRY OF FINANCE, PLANNING, ECONOMY, ENERGY & COOPERATIVES

PRIORITIES FOR 2010

1. Implementation of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) with the IMF 2. Implementation of Value Added Tax, February 1, 2010 3. Signing of Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA) 4. Preparation of the Poverty Reduction Strategic Action Plan 5. Implementation of the ECCU 8 Point Stabilization and Growth Action Plan (PRSAP) 6. Submission of Energy Development and Efficiency Bill to Parliament 7. Submission of Cooperatives Societies Bill to Parliament 9. Enactment of new Public Procurement Legislation and establishment of new Public Procurement Department 10.Expansion of Technical Cooperation with Bilateral and Multilateral Organisations especially in respect of Environment Management 11.Implementation of Energy Relief Programme 12.Government support/facilitation for private sector investment projects. Ministry of Finance, Planning, Economy, Energy & Cooperatives Financial Complex, Carenage, St. George’s Tel.: 440-2731-34, 435-0057; Fax: 440-4115; Website: www.gov.gd; Email: finance@gov.gd, financegrenada@gmail.com Contact: Petra Joseph, Editor-in-Chief, 440-2731, ext.: 1108/435-0057

Designed and printed by Government Printery


Inside Finance - Volume 5, Issue 6, November - December 2009