CASTRIES: St. Lucia is moving to combat the impact from dwindling grants and aid by maximizing the use of limited resources through the establishment of a National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) with technical support from Compete Caribbean, a private sector development program that provides technical assistance grants and investment funding.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, who launched the Council last week, addressed changes in the global political economy, characterized by the erosion of preferential trade arrangements, increased competition for foreign direct investment and donor fatigue.
He said the launch of the NCPC was consistent with his administration’s goal to ensure the efficient and proper use of available resources, increased levels of productivity, enhanced national competitiveness and provision of greater economic opportunity at all levels.
“Responsibilities of the Council include identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in St. Lucia,” said Dr. Anthony, adding that the Council and its secretariat were committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity in St. Lucia.
“Additionally, the NCPC can monitor and support the implementation process of these recommendations through advocacy and the conduct of the NCPC. It is not, however, accountable for implementation where this relates to government decision making and/or reform.”
Anthony said the NCPC would place a greater focus on key areas, such as high level consultations on competitiveness and productivity, an output oriented Council, and the development of a process that leads from issue identification to implementation.
“We anticipate that it will become a best practice Council in St. Lucia and the wider region, a leading driver of advocacy and research that leads to fundamental decisions that improve competitiveness and productivity in St. Lucia and a Council that is inherently flexible to adapt to the needs of the country and the demands of its membership,” he said.
Anthony said Compete Caribbean would support productive development policies, business climate reforms, clustering initiatives and Small and Medium Size Enterprise development activities.
The program, jointly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Kingdom Department for International Development and the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, supports projects in 15 Caribbean countries.
Projects in the OECS countries are implemented in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank.
During the ceremony, Anthony said the NCPC secretariat would be a professional service that enables council activities to create impact, a repository for accessible competitiveness and productivity data and analysis.
While the secretariat would be flexible, Anthony said it would operate within the parameters of the NCPC mandate and a focal point for national and international agencies on Competitiveness & Productivity.