PS of Finance

Esther Rigobert 

Permanent Secretary

Department of Finance, Economic Growth and Job Creation

Introductory Remarks

The COVID-19 pandemic is unleashing damage on all fronts. Beginning as a Public Health crisis in the South Asia region, the virus has reached the shores of every known country in the world, bringing with it an onslaught to death, fear and widespread uncertainty about what the future holds.

It has now evolved from a Global Public Health emergency, to a Human Development crisis, threatening to destroy not just lives, but our way of life, our jobs and livelihoods, our businesses, our industries, and our economy.


No segment of our country is spared this continuing brazen assault of the COVID-19 pandemic. Loss of household income and job security have now thrown many Saint Lucians on the breadline, as businesses are forced to close their doors.


Saint Lucia’s Public Health Care System, which has been on the frontline, is having to re-orient its structure to protect lives and to respond to the looming threat of an outbreak, while the pandemic continues to unfold.

Our Education system has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the closure of schools and the urgent need to leverage technology to provide online instruction and learning to our students.


At the same time, significant losses in Government revenue, due to reductions in domestic commercial activity, as well as loss of foreign exchange, has compounded the situation, restricting the Government’s ability to respond.


This Economic Recovery and Resilience Plan is the third of Saint Lucia’s three pronged response strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and seeks to chart a comprehensive roadmap for the recovery of Saint Lucia. Additionally, the Government embraced the opportunities presented by COVID-19 to accelerate the implementation of some critical reform initiatives.

The Economic Recovery and Resilience Plan primarily seeks to achieve the following six (6) objectives aligned to six (6) pillars:


1) Curtail the impact of both global and domestic economic contraction on the economy, by providing a suite of fiscal policy interventions that will enable private sector business continuity and afford an environment for economic growth and expansion;


2) Drive economic activity through the deliberate commencement and continuation of public sector capital investment projects;


3) Protect the poor and most vulnerable segments of the Saint Lucian population and mitigate further deterioration in the quality of life;


4) Accelerate reforms that will build the resilience of the private and public sectors, by leveraging the adoption of Information and Communications Technology within the productive sectors;

5) Strengthen the Health System to respond to viral outbreaks, and improve the health resilience of the Saint Lucian population; and


6) Build the resilience of Saint Lucia to natural disasters and hazards.

Across those six (6) pillars, a total of thirty-two (32) interventions have been developed defined as “32 Priority Actions to Safeguard lives and livelihoods and to build a More Secure Future for Saint Lucia”.


This menu of initiatives is expected to assist every segment of the Saint Lucian society to weather the impact of COVID-19. The Plan is expected to be rolled out over the next three (3) to twelve (12) months.


While the measures presented in the Plan are geared towards stemming the economic contraction and curtailing the impact of the pandemic, the Government remains committed to its medium to long term development goals. To this end, the Government intends to explore avenues for diversification and structural reform of the economy, with the aim of building a more resilient society. All sectors are expected to play a role in this exercise, as it will be for the benefit of all Saint Lucians.

 

Together we can!