Friday, August 29, 2008

Tourism to play a big part in Grenada's new economy

Published: Friday August 29, 2008

The new Grenadian government has outlined plans to build New Economy, saying that the country's economic prospects will be heavily influenced by development in the tourism sector.

In his Throne Speech delivered last week at the first session of Parliament since Tillman Thomas' National Democratic Congress (NDC) was swept to power in the July 8 elections, Governor General Sir Daniel Williams said the government would invest heavily in product development as well as destination marketing, as it seeks to boost tourism earnings.

"In addition, my government will provide opportunities for new and small businesses to bring onto the market fresh tourism products. Our objectives are to earn more from tourism and to secure more employment for our people," he said.

"The critical importance of the sector requires that optimal arrangements be put in place on the public sector side for policy development and management. My government intends to establish a tourism authority dedicated specifically at pursuing the business interests and goals of the sector and negotiating with the key players in the trade."

Sir Daniel added that the medium term focus will be "to establish Grenada as the Dive Capital of the Eastern Caribbean, and to position Grenada as a preferred cruise destination".

Private sector development was also identified as a major factor in the New Economy plan, with the governor general saying that the government sees that sector as "the engine of growth".

"In this regard, my government will soon establish an Office of Private Sector Development in the Ministry of Finance to manage private sector relations and deliver on key reforms such as the new Investment Code, a Small Business Policy and faster transaction times for processing the private sector's business with Government," he said.

"With these arrangements, my government aims to present a fair, transparent, predictable and efficient fiscal path for businesses to run on."

The government also announced it would take "bold steps" towards oil and gas exploration, new food production methods and techniques, fashion designing, cultural products for tourism, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and ICT-enabled products, among others.

Sir Daniel said that in an effort to manage Grenada's limited financial resources, the government will pursue disciplined fiscal policy and ensure successful completion of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the International Monetary Fund.

He added that the tax reforms to modernise tax policy and administration will also be implemented in an effort to maximise government revenue.

Source: Jamaica Observer

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