National Sustainable Development To Be The Focus Of 2021 Budget

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.