Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne has outlined that his administration has been doing its part in establishing a foundation for the private sector to grow and to foster a greater level of local private sector investments.
During the discussion period of the Prime Minister’s Business Forum being held at the Sandals Grande Resort, Prime Minister Browne pointed out that his government has demonstrated its willingness to support investments enhancing “ our port and road infrastructure, as well as attracting high-end brands such as the Royalton to develop properties. There are also plans to improve our telecommunications infrastructure to provide more reasonable broadband services. We have also invested in our most important national asset: our people. The government has invested significantly in renovating or expanding schools and on scholarships for tertiary education for the next generation of leaders of our nation,” he said.
The country’s leader noted that Last year, Antigua and Barbuda had economic growth of 5.3%; the fastest in the entire CARICOM. “Last year was also a standout year for tourism. We hosted over 1.1 million visitors, the highest ever number in a fiscal year, resulting in a 5.2% growth in the hotels sector. Other key sectors such as construction are also recording growth,” he stated.
“No amount of government investment on its own can bring about the transformation mentioned earlier. It is the creative talent, imagination and entrepreneurial zeal of those among you that will unlock opportunity for yourselves and your families. You have a great environment in which to display that zeal,” outlined Prime Minister Browne.
Prime Minister Browne also pointed out that Government actively looks for partnerships that will grow private businesses. He said that the government has invested successfully in energy and the financial sector, however, he pointed out that the government is not seeking to crowd out private investment; it does not invest in any venture that the private sector can undertake on its own, he said.
He concluded that all the economic instruments used have been structured to nurture domestic investment and pointed out that incentives are based on the value of the investment, and not on the nationality. “There are carve outs for local developers. Take up of some of the carve outs has been low – help us to help you,” Prime Minister said. (Ends)