PR– Grenada’s National Sustainable Development Plan 2020-2035 will be the anchor for the country’s 2021 budget, which will be presented later this year.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, disclosed this on Wednesday as he addressed participants in a national consultation to garner public input for the 2021 budget.
This year’s budget presentation will focus on the theme, Towards Vision 2035: Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience.
Dr. Mitchell said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will also influence Government’s interventions going into 2021. As such, three strategic areas of focus have been identified – a robust and inclusive recovery, economic transformation and resilience.
Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic fallout, Grenada was on track to record another year of significant economic growth. The Prime Minister said Government needs to focus on getting the economy growing again and creating employment opportunities.
He said, “We need to look at the policies, projects and programmes with the greatest potential in this period that would drive the recovery. This would cut across several areas, including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, tourism, education, and ICT. We also need to look at what opportunities that have been created by the crisis and ensure that we seize those opportunities to boost the recovery.”
Since 2014, Government has successfully managed to improve the country’s debt to GDP ratio, and legislation has been enacted to manage borrowing and expenditure.
However, with predictions that the country’s economy could experience double-digit decline, Dr. Mitchell has acknowledged that Grenada’s COVID-19 recovery would likely include “some new borrowings, and aggressive external resource mobilisation”.
With regard to economic transformation, Dr. Mitchell said recovery must be robust and inclusive with a focus on securing high human and social development.
He said, “We must continue to invest towards achieving a healthy population and a well educated citizenry taking into account the new realities ushered in by COVID-19. We must continue to work toward empowering our poor and vulnerable as well as other disadvantaged groups.”
Dr. Mitchell also noted that, “Investing in our young people, protecting our children, and empowering our women are of critical importance.”
Resilience has become a key development watchword and the Prime Minister restated Government’s commitment to building resilience to achieve environmental sustainability and security.
He said, “Over the years, we have made steady progress in this area, but much more is required. This pandemic has underscored the importance of this policy imperative. We must continue our work in this area to build resilience to not only natural disasters and climate change, but also public health shocks, such as the current pandemic.”
Prior to this week’s national consultation on the 2021 budget, Government also consulted with the nation’s youth to get their input.