St Lucia House of Assembly to convene for ancillary borrowing on St Jude hospital project

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Updated [February 28]: Due to unforeseen circumstances the House of Assembly Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 3, 2020 has been postponed to Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Please find attached the Alien Landholding (Licensing) Bill-1 – Clerk of Parliament

By Caribbean News Global contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia – A sitting of the House of Assembly is scheduled to convene Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at 10:00 am with papers to be laid extensively by prime minister Allen Chastanet, Dominic Fedee minister for tourism and John Bradley Felix minister for commerce.

More substantively prime minister and minister for finance, economic growth, job creation, external affairs and the public service, will seek parliament authorisation to borrow the sum of US$20,000,000.00 from the Export-Import Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for the purpose of financing the St Jude hospital (phase 2) construction project, amid the increasing decay of healthcare in Saint Lucia.

This loan for the St Jude project is said to be repayable in 20 years from the date of the first disbursement of the loan inclusive of a five-year grace period. The interest is payable at a rate of the six-month London Inter-Bank offered rate plus 1.5 percent per annum.

The loan payments shall commence after the grace period of five years has expired and the principal on the outstanding amount shall be repaid in thirty consecutive equal or as nearly equal as possible semi-annual installment.

Papers to be laid by the minister for finance include statutory instruments intended for:

  • Fiscal Incentives (Sunfresh) Amendment) Order;
  • Finance (Administration) Act – Resolution of Parliament Authorizing the Minister for finance to borrow by Means of Advances;
  • Finance (Administration) Act – Resolution of Parliament to borrow for capital expenditure – OECS Regional Health Project;
  • Value Added Tax – Resolution of Parliament to approve draft Value Added Tax (Amendment of Schedules 1 and 3) (No.2) Order;
  • Fiscal Incentives (W.J. Engineering Services Incorporated) Order;
  • Fiscal Incentives (Saint Lu Woodworking Ltd.) (Amendment) Order;
  • Fiscal Incentives (Fresh Start Construction Company Limited) (Amendment) Order;
  • Customs Duties (Amendment of Schedule 4) (No. 4) and (No. 5) Order;
  • Income Tax (Exemption) (Appointments) (Judicial and Legal Services Commission) (No. 2) order;
  • Value Added Tax (Amendment of Schedules 1 and 3) (No.2) Order;
  • Immigration (Visa) (Exemption) (Events Company of St. Lucia Inc.) Order;
  • Excise Tax (Amendment of Schedule 1) (No.1) Order;
  • Aliens (Licensing) (Exemption) (Valor Rose (St. Lucia) Limited) Order;
  • Aliens (Licensing) (Exemption) (Royal Crescentia) (St. Lucia) Limited)
  • (No. 2) Order;
  • Legal Aid (Appointment of the Board of the Saint Lucia Legal Aid Authority) Order;
  • Legal Profession (Eligibility) (Taylor Rose Laurayne) Order;
  • Excise Tax (Amendment of Schedule 1) (No.2) Order;
  • Aliens (Licensing) (Exemption) (Sagicor Life (Eastern Caribbean) Inc.) Order;
  • Public Health (Nuisances) (Amendment) Regulations;
  • Public Health (Mosquito Control) (Amendment) Regulations;
  • Public Health (communicable and Notifiable Diseases) (Amendment) Regulations;
  • Excise Tax (Amendment of Schedule1) (No.3) Order.

According to the prime minister, “tourism arrivals are now at record levels, and the prospects for agriculture and the manufacturing sector are extremely good.” Papers to be laid by the minister for tourism, information, broadcasting, culture and creative industries, include statutory instruments intended for:

  • Tourism Incentives (Poinsettia Apartments Limited) Order;
  • Tourism Incentives (Ciceron Management Limited) Order;
  • Tourism Stimulus and Investment (PRIMCO Corporation) Order;
  • Tourism Incentives (Spice of India Inc.) Order;
  • Tourism Stimulus and Investment (Paradise Breeze) Order;
  • Tourism Incentives (Eudovic Art Studio Incorporated) Order;
  • Tourism Stimulus and Investment (Elser Bed & Breakfast) Order;
  • Tourism Incentives (Prestige Suites) Order;
  • Tourism Stimulus and Investment (St. Joseph’s Limited) Order.

Saint Lucia needs new considerations to address economic growth, promote innovation, increase production and export of commodity crops in a competitive marketplace. Meantime, papers to be laid by the minister for commerce, industry, enterprise development and consumer affairs include statutory instruments intended for:

  • Price Control (Amendment) (No. 1) Order;
  • Standards (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations;
  • Export Saint Lucia (Appointment of the National Export Council) Order;
  • Price Control (Amendment) (No.2) Order;
  • Price Control (Amendment) No.3) Order.

At the November 2019 sitting of parliament, EC$55 million was borrowed from commercial banks, for six months charged on and paid out of the consolidated fund.

The government of Saint Lucia is in the final quarter of the financial year 2019/20, while many await budget achievements and economic performance. Preparation and budgeting technique for fiscal year 2020/21 is highly anticipated, amid COVID-19, global financial projections and domestic expectations in an election year.

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