The recently held youth forum which was organized by the New Democratic Party (NDP) for the youth was a tremendous success. The theme was, ‘Young Entrepreneurs; positioning SVG youth to economic prosperity’. The presenters must be commended for an excellent job.
From discussion, it was clear that the youth left the session with a better understanding and a more positive mind set of the significance of entrepreneurship. It must be noted that the NDP is cognizant of the importance of entrepreneurship and the private sector to the economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
It is well-established that in today’s world, a thriving private sector is the foundation of a growing economy. Private sector development has many benefits for St. Vincent and the Grenadines economy.
It will expand economic development and support a sustainable source of revenue, tax and otherwise that will fund strategic social programmes. Private sector development will become the nucleus of employment and therein accelerate the process of socio-economic development.
The Unity Labour Party regime however appears not to understand this basic fact. Evidence of this is seen through government’s ill-advised policies, and the fact that this government owes the private sector an enormous amount which has accumulated to millions of dollars; a crippling burden for a private sector already weighed down by some of the highest energy prices in the Caribbean.
The NDP recognizes that improving government policies and behavior will not only shape the investment climate and drive private sector development, it will also drive overall economic growth and improve opportunities for everyone.
We will therefore provide a range of incentives and supports to encourage private sector development, and above all, create the stable and predictable macro-economic and social environment that will encourage investment.
In order to foster private sector development, the NDP seeks to focus on creating an attractive investment climate. An NDP government will establish a ministry of the private sector to facilitate the development and expansion of private industry in general.
We consider that Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) are a critical factor in economic growth and we will create the conditions that will enable SMEs to play a major role in entrepreneurship, innovation and job creation.
In order to create the environment in which Small and Medium sized Enterprises will thrive, the NDP will end the competition between government enterprises and SMEs, adopt and pursue appropriate fiscal and employment policies to promote an optimal economic environment, improve the attractiveness of entrepreneurship and remove the constraints to the development and growth of SMEs through: the re-establishment of a Development Bank to provide funding and financial support for SMEs.
The NDP will also establish a government sponsored Laboratory, a Scientific Research Council to provide technical assistance for all new and expanding enterprises, establish a St. Vincent and the Grenadines Bureau of Standard and foster strategic alliances between Vincentian and foreign companies to gain knowledge about market entry and export led activities.
Moreover, the role of the Ministry of the Private Sector will identify and seek to develop or expand a range of direct and indirect support services for SMEs, including: business pre-start , start-up and development assistance; business plan development and follow-up; business incubators – legal, accounting and financial services; information services including advice on government policies; advice on the effective application of information, provide communication and business technologies to the business process; offer consultancy and research services; managerial and vocational skills enhancement; promotion and development of enterprise based training.
In addition, provide support and offer training in occupational safety and health; assist in upgrading the literacy, numeracy, computer competencies and basic education levels of managers and employees; provide access to energy, telecommunications and physical infrastructure either directly or through private sector intermediaries.
And assist in understanding and applying labour legislation, human resource development and the promotion of gender equality, product design, development and presentation, packaging services, environmental management services, quality management, including quality testing and measurement and streamline business regulatory processes and procedures in order to substantially improve the ease of doing business in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Ministry will also work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our overseas Missions, Caricom and the Vincentian Diaspora to identify trade and export opportunities for SMEs.
There are also significant benefits that can be achieved through entrepreneurship. These include, increasing the number of self-employed persons through the creation of quality jobs. This new work environment will produce new economic activities; to increase the motivation and skills of the unemployed in the rural area.
Also,to actively seek and create new employment opportunities within their own communities; to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth though all sectors of the national economy. This will lead to a reduction of poverty and the negative effects associated with poverty and to empower people to trust in their own abilities and knowledge, and to learn the basic values and operating principles of business, thereby adopting a practical approach to the world of business.
Private sector development will improve the lives of our people, whether directly or indirectly. It will expand the variety of goods and services available and reduces their cost, to the benefit of consumers. Private sector development will create sustainable jobs and opportunities for macro and micro-entrepreneurs alike. Micro entrepreneur is one of the key pathways by which people can escape poverty. We will give each person the power to shape their own destiny.
The resultant economic growth envisioned will also help to reduce the costs of goods to our citizens. This is especially important to those who suffer the economic burden the most. Private sector development shall contribute to an expanded tax base that will allow for investment in health, education and welfare for all our people.
It is obvious that the NDP has the better programmes and policies and Vincentians especially the youth can look forward to benefit from the NDP’s private sector development initiative.