The monthly meeting of the Economic Development Committee (EDC) took place on Thursday, 23 May 2019, and the following is a summary of the main items discussed:
SHG’s new Senior Economist, Amanda Curry Brown, was introduced to the Committee. Amanda is here for two years and will be working on developing a Labour Market Strategy and assisting in the delivery of the Economic Development Investment Programme.
The draft Sustainable Economic Development Plan End of Year Progress Report was provided. It was suggested that an infographic be developed to publicise progress made in 2018-19 and it was agreed that a final report be made available to the public. More information on this report will follow shortly.
Enterprise St Helena (ESH) gave a brief update relating to activity during April, as follows: Works at the Canister appear to be progressing well and are due to be completed in early July. An exhibition on Sir Hudson Lowe, Governor of St Helena during the exile of Napoleon, was launched at Plantation House on 14 April – the aim of the exhibition was also to shed light on his role in bringing an end to slavery on St Helena. There had been a cruise ship visit by the MV Pacific Princess on Thursday, 4 April, carrying 609 passengers and 379 crew. St Helena Tourism had attended the ‘We Are Africa’ travel show, in Cape Town. Following endorsement of the new Investment Strategy, the Approved Investor Committee had considered its first local investment application, which had been awarded Investor ‘B’ status. ESH has awarded five Small to Medium Enterprise Grants thus far this financial year, to a total value of £16,000. The Business Development Team was also heavily involved in the Agricultural Day held at Francis Plain on 4 May. This was well received, and consideration is therefore being given towards holding an agricultural related event on a biennial basis.
A proposal was presented by the Deputy Financial Secretary for a change to the Currency Ordinance 1975. It was noted that the current Ordinance provides for the treatment of a surplus made on the Currency Fund in a financial year but did not detail how a deficit should be treated should one occur. This is an anomaly and although the Currency Fund usually makes a surplus it was recognised that suitable provision should be made in the Ordinance in the event of a deficit. It is proposed to include an additional clause to provide that a deficit should be transferred to the General Reserve at the end of the financial year. The Committee recognised that this is an administrative amendment and that there would be no financial or other implications as a result and therefore endorsed the change. The necessary amendment to the legislation will now be drafted.
During the closed session SAMS presented their six-month report. SAMS is working hard to improve its services, and is asking the public what it would like from St Helena’s media. These two 10-question surveys will inform upcoming changes in The Sentinel and SAMS Radio 1 – find the respective surveys online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K86RCNV and https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/57KR228.
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31 May 2019