9 March 2021
THURSDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2021
The monthly meeting of the Economic Development Committee was held on Thursday, 25 February 2021.
Enterprise St Helena (ESH) presented an overview of their progress and performance as at the end of January, during which they provided an update regarding the extended COVID-19 support to local businesses, the agricultural support being provided to local farmers, and training courses delivered on-Island via digital platforms during January and February. With regards to the training component, ESH was pleased to report that they had exceeded the target that they had agreed with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for the current financial year, despite the challenges faced as a result of COVID-19.
It was noted that ESH staff were now busy with handover arrangements in preparation for the closure of ESH at the end of March. This includes the processing of invoices and handing over responsibility for the ESH Property Portfolio to Crown Estates. It was also noted that a Project Completion Review was underway with the FCDO in order to ensure that there was a formal record of what had been achieved by ESH during the organisation’s existence.
Small updates to the Investment Strategy and Investment Policy were agreed. This mostly related to the change of reference from Enterprise St Helena to the SHG Sustainable Development Team as a result of the ESH project funding coming to an end on 31 March 2021 and the Public Service Fit for the Future restructure. A further change in the Investment Strategy was agreed to recognise the import duty reductions for an ‘Approved Investor B’ under the Approved Investor Scheme for capital items from 20% to 5% to also include an equivalent reduction in the fixed import duty for vehicles, should it be required.
The Environment and Natural Resources Directorate (ENRP) provided an update on the current situation for local egg production. They advised that most producers were experiencing lower production levels due to the age of their layers, layer moulting, and problems experienced with feed supplies. Low production levels would continue to be experienced across the Island until new layers came on stream in the future and were laying. Their update included information from Thorpe & Sons who had advised that they were importing eggs for sale to supplement local supplies and Solomon & Company (St Helena) Plc were importing eggs to support their bakery operations.
ENRP were also able to advise the Committee that efforts to replenish the Island’s stock of layers for egg production were ongoing and that, although a supplier had been secured for the export of day-old chicks to the Island from UK, further investigations had concluded that this was not possible with the Boeing B-757 aircraft as its hold temperature is fixed and not able to support the temperature requirements for day-old chicks.
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9 March 2021