Update on Key Economic Development Work Streams

During the current round of Constituency Meetings, Elected Members have been asked to provide updates on various key work streams.

Below is an update on a number of key work streams that fall under the remit of the Economic Development Committee: 

Fibre Optic Cable Project

Work is progressing well with the new Fibre Optic Cable Project which aims to provide the Island with faster internet connectivity. The proposed high speed fibre cable would offer opportunities for private sector development, distance learning, tele-medicine and e-commerce.   

Latest activities/milestones under the Project

  • Two engineers from  American Manufactured Structures and Services (AMSS), arrived on 26 February 2021 to facilitate the installation of the Modular Cable Landing Solution (MCLS)
  • Engineers from Marine Contractors and Consultants (MCC) arrived on 23 March 2021, to carry out  the following tasks in conjunction with the Project:
    • Undertake assessments of the near shore infrastructure
    • Liaise with potential sub-contractors
    • Determine if the sub-contractors have the right equipment at their disposal, which will facilitate the landing of the Equiano Cable System
    • Assess the subsea cable pulling procedures
    • Assess the emergency evacuation plans
  • Two Engineers from Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) will arrive in May 2021, to undertake the installation of the Power Feed equipment and all associated telecoms equipment
  • Eight engineers from MCC, along with four members of Alcatel’s Submarine Networks (ASN) Installation and Testing Team will arrive in June 2021
  • Equiano’s shore end landing will be undertaken in August 2021*
  • Testing of the MCLS’s Power Feed Equipment will commence in August 2021*
  • The station’s completion date is forecast for September 2021*.

*Note these dates are subject to change

The Project is currently on schedule with the cable set to go live in early 2022. The landing of the cable will bring many benefits to the Island including encouraging investment opportunities in the construction of satellite ground stations on the Island and increased use of internet-based technology and delivery through, for example, digital financial transactions.

Communications Networks and Services

The Communications Networks and Services Policy was endorsed by Executive Council in October 2020. The Policy can be found at: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/government/public-information/

The procurement of the Public Communications Networks and Services licence holder has started, with announcement of the preferred bidder due in the second half of this year. 

Ships Registry

Since the endorsement of the new Ships Registry Policy, a Maritime Compliance & Policy Officer (MC&PO) has been appointed, with a view to establishing a Maritime Authority. The Authority will lead on developing Maritime policy and regulation as required by the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Instruments Implementation Code (IIIC).

St Helena is a member of the Red Ensign Group (REG), which is responsible for the UK Ship Registry, and as such can expect to be audited alongside the UK, by the IMO. Procedures to be adopted for Ship Registry services, and meeting the requirements of the IMO audit (no confirmed date as yet) are in progress.

More on Ship Registry can be found on the SHG website at: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/public-services/registry

Company Registry

The Company Registry Policy was endorsed by Executive Council in December 2020. Drafting of the appropriate legislation is awaited.

A new post will be recruited to drive the Company Registry work forward, including the work to modernise the anti-money laundering checks, and include more information on beneficial ownership – this post is likely to be advertised in the first half of this year.

More on Company Registry can be found on the SHG website at: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/public-services/registry

Sugar Tax and Imports

Since the introduction of the Sugar Tax in 2018, in general there have been decreases in the import of products subject to the higher level of duty (e.g. high-sugar soft drinks, fruit juices) and increases in the imports of healthier alternatives (e.g. water, low-sugar drinks) subject to a lower level of tax. This suggests that the tax is having the intended impact. By reducing the import cost of healthier food and beverages when compared to high-sugar options, the tax makes it easier for merchants to provide a wider variety of healthy options to their customers.

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SHG
27 April 2021

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470
Email: kimberley.peters@sainthelena.gov.sh