By Caribbean News Global contributor
ST GEORGES, Grenada – Prime minister, Dr Keith Mitchell is confident that Grenada’s 2022 budget will bring significant relief to a wide cross-section of the population; indicated that a priority area for government is empowerment, particularly for young people, arming them with the ability to take care of themselves, referenced the many skills training initiatives spearheaded by the ministry of youth development and the $10 million allocated to facilitate soft loans to the small business sector.
Prime minister Mitchell advised that the budgetary measures reflect the government’s love for people:
“The minister of finance showed that he understood the pain of the people and he empathised with what is taking place in the country. As such, he came up with a number of solutions and ideas to deal with that pain. We cannot be all things to all people, but I don’t think there is anyone who can honestly say that the initiatives outlined by the minister of finance do not offer some form of relief to them,” he added. “The greater good for the greater number. We don’t focus on giving a man a fish, we prefer to teach him to fish. The role of the government is to create an enabling environment for people to take risks, to capitalise on opportunities and to be able to provide for themselves. The true measure of our success could very well be determined by the amount of people who no longer need a helping hand because we have empowered them.”
“The track record of this government speaks for itself. We are a government of the working class, the poor and the less fortunate. What motivates me is the ability to make a difference in the lives of people,” he explained during the debate in parliament, to which “the government continues to demonstrate that it has the best interests of the people at heart,” said prime minister Mitchell.
Presenting the budgetary measures, finance minister, Gregory Bowen outlined key initiatives including:
- The lowering of electricity costs for domestic usage of up to 500 kilowatt-hours;
- A reduction in non-fuel charges and the removal of VAT and the Environmental Levy;
- A $15 cap on the price of gasoline;
- VAT exemption for five additional food items;
- An increase of $150 for all households benefitting from the SEED programme; and,
- Additional pay for public officers during December, in recognition of the extra sacrifices made necessary by the pandemic.
In a further response to the budget against the ‘the harsh economic reality brought about by the pandemic’ and ‘the special attention is given to the people of Grenada’ Dr Mitchell deliberated that the 2022 budget was “presented in a very unique context”.
Prime minister Mitchell explained:
“When presenting a budget, particularly in the context of a pandemic where everyone has suffered, there are some critical questions that must be deep in your thoughts”, he expressed eloquently:
“Where is the country? Where are my people? Who am I serving? What are my responsibilities? How will the budget affect them?” the experience prime minister Mitchell examined and shed light on, in his skillful presentation to parliament.
– With a file from Gov.gd