Economic Development Committee Meeting Summary – Thursday, 27 February 2020

  • EDC and ENRC supports amendment to the Environmental Protection Ordinance needed to support our application for Dark Skies accreditation
  • Committee endorses the recommendation that St Helena should formally declare itself to be a Small Island Developing State

TheEconomic Development Committee(EDC)met on Thursday, 27 February 2020, and the following is a summary of discussions that took place:

Members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee joined the EDC to consider an amendment to the Environmental Protection Ordinance (EPO) which is needed to support our application for Dark Skies accreditation that had been submitted to the International Dark Skies Association in December 2019. The amendment to the EPO is needed to ensure the regulation of artificial light at night in order to preserve and sustain the natural environment. This was supported by both Committees, subject to reviewing the general 10pm curfew time for exterior lighting and for lighting zones to be included in the Ordinance rather than in regulations.  It was also agreed that penalties should be fixed term.  The draft legislation will now be further developed to take account of these issues.

Enterprise St Helena presented their Progress and Performance Report for January 2020, inclusive of brief updates, and their Director of Resources also gave Members an overview of their Management accounts for the past quarter. Particular mention was made regarding the recent attendance at the European Film Market by the Chief Executive for Economic Development and the Director of Investment, in order to develop linkages relating to establishing the Island as a potential film location, which could open up future economic opportunities for St Helena. It was noted that in recent weeks a noticeable increase in divers had been visiting the Island, and it was considered that this was at least partially as a result of local attendance at dive shows. Visits by both Green Flag (Post Box Walk accreditation) and Dan Snow (History Hit) had gone well, with outcomes expected by the end of March.

The EDC endorsed proposed amendments to the Pensions Ordinance 2012 which seeks to bring the pension entitlements in respect of medical boarding of divested employees on par with that of public officers.  The draft Pensions (Amendment) Bill 2020 will now be taken to Executive Council for consideration before being presented to a formal meeting of the Legislative Council. 

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a group of small Island countries that share common development challenges. Based on the experience of Montserrat and input from SHG and UK government officials, EDC endorsed the recommendation that St Helena should formally declare itself to be a SIDS and initiate the steps necessary to affiliate with one of the United Nations Regional Commissions. This recommendation will be considered for approval by Executive Council later this month.

Three businesses were awarded Approved Investor Status as per SHG’s Investment Strategy. One investor received Approved Investor Status A to support expansion of their local agriculture business; another investor received Approved Investor Status A to develop eco-lodges and another investor received Approved Investor Status B to support development of a Fun Park. Obtaining Approved Investor Status means that they receive a reduction in import duty for capital items imported.

EDC considered proposals to increase Companies and Trade Marks fees with effect from 1 April 2020. It was agreed that the relevant fees associated with administering the Companies and Trade Marks legislation should increase by 2.9%, subject to final endorsement by Executive Council.

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SHG

13 March 2020

St Helena Government Press Office

Telephone: 22470
Email: liam.yon@sainthelena.gov.sh