Economic Development Committee Meeting – Thursday 24 October 2019

The monthly meeting of the Economic Development Committee (EDC) took place on Thursday, 24 October 2019, and the following is a summary of the main items discussed:

Enterprise St Helena (ESH) presented their Progress and Performance Report for August 2019, inclusive of brief updates.  Particular mention was made of the two recent cruise ship visits by the MV Albatross and MV Boudicca, whereby it was noted that these were the last for this year with the next visit scheduled for January 2020. ESH highlighted the launch of the Investor Prospectus, held at Anne’s Place on Saturday, 19 October, noting that this had already led to eight new initial enquiries. On the local promotional front, ESH had promoted World Egg Day via Facebook, and marked the anniversary of Napoleon stepping foot on the Island on 17 October by revealing the new Napoleon impersonator, Kenickie Andrews. ESH also noted that two awards had been made as a result of the recent Grand Ideas promotion (undertaken in partnership with the Governor’s Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office International Programme Fund), one relating to Aquaponics and the other relating to a Soft Play Activity Pack at Kingshurst Community Centre. Looking forward, it was noted that ESH are working with the Governor’s Office and other local stakeholders in relation to activities for Global Entrepreneurship Week, including ‘Pitch to Plantation’, and ESH was also in the process of finalising a contract with a French PR Agency. It was also noted that the Chief Executive for Economic Development and the Director of Investment were about to undertake a programme of overseas activity relating to Tourism and Investment, including attendance at the International Tourism Investment Conference, World Travel Market and Luxury Property Show in London. Whilst in London they would also be hosting a networking event for the Saint Helenian Diaspora, and participating in the official launch of the St Helena Research Institute.  

The Committee received a summary of feedback from the draft Labour Market Strategy (LMS) public consultation that concluded on 11 October. The LMS will be revised based on those inputs and submitted to EDC for review in November.

The Committee endorsed a proposed administrative amendment to the Customs (Tariffs and Exemptions) Regulations 2011 to correct an anomaly identified in the implementation of the new customs tariffs on vehicles planned for 1 December 2019.  Under paragraph 4(2)(b)(iii) of the Second Schedule of the current Regulations, a vehicle that has been exempted from customs duty on importation and is later sold, must pay customs duty based on the value at the time of sale.  The new tariff is based on fixed amounts of duty rather than a percentage of the value of the vehicle and therefore an amendment is required to ensure that the method of calculating duty aligns to the new tariff.  An amendment will be drafted and presented to Executive Council for approval. 

The Committee was provided with a summary of feedback on the sports fishing section of the draft Fishing Licencing Policy that was undertaken in September 2019.  A wide range of feedback was received covering numbers of spearfishing licences to be capped, the length of time for operation of spearfishing of pelagic species activities, numbers of fish able to be caught and landed, protecting the diversity of fish species at dive sites from increased pelagic spearfishing and conditions related to operation of sports fishing licences. The Fishing Licencing Policy will be updated based on a range of inputs received and brought back to EDC in November for review and endorsement.

A paper providing for an alternative business model for processing and selling fish on St Helena, with a view to curtailing the crippling losses incurred by SHG’s state owned entity St Helena Fisheries Corporation (SHFC) and reducing the subsidy provided to it by Government was discussed and endorsed for discussion at the next Executive Council Meeting.

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1 November 2019                                         

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470