Fri 14th Aug 2015
Our country has a significant potential to export many more goods, but the economic incompetence and lack of vision of the ULP regime, is dragging our economy down and pushing unemployment up.
The ULP regime simply does not understand that the SVG economy cannot grow unless we increase the number of products that are exported. Creating new products expands the economy, and in order to create new products, especially in light industries and agro-processing, we must build factories.
The economically incompetent ULP regime is focused on a policy of begging and borrowing and mass tourism. This is a waste of time and does not bring long-term, sustainable economic growth.
On Tuesday 4 August 2015, ULP and NDP parliamentarians approved a further $13 million to be thrown away on the Argyle Airport fiasco. This $13 million should have been used to build factories for agro-processing, so that we could start exporting a variety of fruit juices and tea. These factories would create thousands of new jobs for our people and expand the economy.
We must bite the bullet and close the misfit Argyle Airport.
One of the priorities of a Green government is to build factories to create jobs, boost the economy and help farmers and small businesses export their goods. As well as a strategy of import substitution, we need to change our economy so that it is export-oriented.
A Green government will cut ties with Taiwan and create ties with China. We will then use SVG’s deep-sea tuna fishing licence to set up a joint-venture, tuna fishing industry. A factory will be built in SVG to process and can this tuna fish so that it can be exported and also sold in shops in SVG. This tuna fishing and canning industry will create thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for our country.
As in Zanzibar, a tuna fishing and canning industry will create hundreds of new jobs in secondary industries such as ice-making plants, cold-storage services, boat-building yards, workshops to make fishing nets and engine repair and maintenance workshops.
It is imperative that factories are set up for agro-processing. It makes no sense that SVG exports peanuts, but imports peanut butter and exports a variety of fruits, but imports fruit juices. These types of economic anomalies need to be sorted, to create jobs and strengthen our economy. By exporting ‘value-added’ products such as fruit juices and peanut butter, rather than primary products such as peanuts and fruit, the economy will grow faster.
Since 2011, over $200 million of food has been imported in to SVG every year. This $200 million a year, has been going in to the pockets of farmers abroad and funding jobs abroad. By setting up agro-processing factories in SVG and making use of the fruit and vegetables SVG farmers produce, this $200 million a year can go in to the pockets of SVG farmers, fund jobs in SVG and make food cheaper for everyone in SVG.
Imported food is very expensive and many poor families cannot afford to feed themselves adequately.
SVG should be exporting products such as organic tea, organic baby food, organic fruit juices, organic honey, organic dried fruits, organic vacuum-packed vegetables, organic bottled coconut water, organic coffee, smoked fish and numerous other products.
Many of the vegetables grown in SVG, such as dasheen, have by-products that can be exported too. Vision and innovation is needed to boost the economy and create a thriving agro-processing industry – a Green government has the ability to do this. The ULP regime has been a failure.
A Green government will also set up factories for light manufacturing. Most of the manufactured goods in SVG are imported. A Green government will profile the economy to assess which of the imported manufactured goods could be made in SVG. For example, most clothing in SVG is imported, but by importing cloth and working with fashion designers in SVG, our country could not only have factories producing clothes, but exporting clothes too.
By doing this type of economic adjustment and innovation, a Green government can bring the change that is needed in our country to create thousands of new jobs, reboot the economy and get money circulating our country. Factories, import substitution and an export-oriented economy are necessary to reduce poverty, expand the economy and create economic growth.