6 December 2019
The monthly meeting of the Economic Development Committee (EDC) was held on Thursday, 28 November 2019.
The Chief Economist presented the Sustainable Economic Development Plan (SEDP) mid-year update report. The report recognised the strong progress in the last six months relating to Fibre Connectivity, the St Helena Research Institute, the Investment Prospectus, St Helena’s Ship Registry Policy, capital programme allocation, and waste management, amongst others. The full mid-year report can be found on the Public Information, Reports and Policies page of the SHG website: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/government/publicinformation/.
The Chief Economist also presented two items related to the Digital sector.
The first was the draft Satellite Ground Station Policy. The draft Policy has been developed to licence Permanent Earth Stations (PES) and Receive Only Earth Stations (ROES). This was to assist the aspiration of developing the Satellite Ground Station sector, as outlined in St Helena’s SEDP. The EDC noted that this Policy would apply to existing amateur radio operators on St Helena, but the fees proposed were low and did not significantly vary from existing fees. The EDC endorsed the draft Policy for consultation. The draft Policy is available via: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/government/public-consultation/ and responses can be provided via: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/St-Helena-Earth-Stations-Consultation.
The second item presented was the ‘Needs and Delighters’ paper which was developed after the ‘Realising the Digital Strategy’ public consultation in July. The paper outlined the public’s aspirations for digital developments on St Helena after the fibre optic cable goes live. EDC endorsed the paper as a true representative of public aspirations.
The Senior Economist presented the final draft Labour Market Strategy. She reiterated the changes that had been made as a result of the consultation, including sections to address the ‘here and now’, revisions in relation to immigrant labour, and changes to the relocation assistance offered to returning St Helenians. The EDC endorsed the Strategy, which will next be considered by Executive Council.
Enterprise St Helena (ESH) presented their Progress and Performance Report for October 2019, inclusive of brief updates. Particular mention was made regarding the amount of coverage that was achieved, both on and off Island, during the recent programme of events attended by Chief Executive for Economic Development, Dr Dawn Cranswick, and Director of Investment, Martin George. A presentation was also given by Dr Dawn Cranswick regarding the offshore programme of activity.
It was noted that the launch of the Investor Prospectus had generated significant interest, and that ESH were currently working with 24 live contacts. The Pitch to Plantation initiative had attracted four participants, and a Business Boot Camp had been held at the ESH Head Office to assist in the development of their business initiatives.
Further work to Main Street should be progressing in January 2020, including the replica fountain and also further disabled access. These works would be programmed around the two cruise ships that are due in January, namely the MV Artania (8 January) and MS Marco Polo (21 January).
ESH and the Agriculture and Natural Resources Division had jointly met with farmers through the Chamber of Commerce in order to discuss priorities for a future Agriculture Support Programme. ESH was also organising a Christmas Market for local small traders to be held on Friday, 13 December.
During the closed session, the EDC met with Private Sector Development Advisor at DfID, Mr Richard Boulter, who is responsible for overseeing the ESH Project. The committee was also presented with the proposed ESH Budget by Mrs Michelle Yon.
The Acting Director of the Environment, Natural Resources and Planning Directorate took members through the Veterinary & Livestock Section’s proposal for support to livestock producers during this period of drought. Support will be provided through the provision of supplementary feeds (cubes) which will arrive on Island in December 2019. The feeds support to livestock producers will require registration via an application process which also involves an assessment of a producer’s grazing land and associated animals in order to determine the level of feeds support required.
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6 December 2019