The prime minister of Dominica has said his administration is committed to assisting manufacturers in the country.
And he believes that the more people focus on the local economy, the more job creation and growth will be seen.
Giving a speech at the “very short but very important ceremony” at the State House Conference Centre yesterday, Skerrit said that a new loan facility for the manufacturing industry will have a “tremendous positive impact” on Dominica’s economy and the “onward march as a people”.
The event saw a contract signed to pump $15 million into the AID Bank at a 0% interest, who will then forward loan to businesses in the manufacturing sector at an interest rate of 3%.
“I want to say to the manufacturers that the government of Dominica, which I have the honour to lead, appreciates very much your commitment to the country,” said Roosevelt Skerrit.
“Many of you will have taken you own property, in some cases you own private dwelling as security, to invest in Dominica
“This is, for anybody, a bold step, to take.”
The prime minister appears this week to be tackling a number of issues related to the economy.
On Wednesday he spoke strongly against government contractors who don’t behave honestly – a practice that is “really pissing me off”, he said.
With the introduction of the loan facility, which was first revealed during the budget address at the end of July, came after people “sounded the call” to his government, Skerrit said.
The prime minister told the gathering that he hopes people will take advantage of the scheme to get over any hurdles they come across.
“What we are seeking to do here is to assist you in overcoming some of the challenges you experience in respect of the working capital, in respecting to expanding, in respect to improving the conditions,” he said.
“We are operating in a world now where conditions are set on us. We cannot produce things in our kitchen and expect it to be sold in the market place.”
Even selling in a local supermarket means strict conditions, he added, just as expected for products created for export.
Roselyn Paul, minister for commerce, enterprise and small business development, echoed the prime minister’s words
“We expect the agro-processors, furniture maker, garment manufacturer, craft producers, metal and glass fabricators, boat makers, breweries, those involved in producing soaps, pharmaceuticals, herbal teas, organic fertilisers, paints, pesticides, leather and paper, masonry products and others to take full advantage of the available funds at an affordable rate,” she said.
WIC News has reached out to the opposition United Workers Party for comment but received no reply.
Emails have also been sent to the party’s leader, Lennox Linton, too.
During his speech, Skerrit revealed that his government plans to introduce small business development laws before the end of 2017 in an effort to make it easier for enterprises to operate.
“To attach to this legal framework, specific concessions and benefits which would be ascribed to small business in Dominica, so that every one of us would know how we fitting into the economy of the country, how the government can assist us and how we can play a more meaningful role in the attainment our objective of a more just and prosperous Dominica,” he said.