As part of the mandate of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture, planned meetings throughout the year are scheduled with key officials of the Government to ensure relevant matters that may affect its members are addressed.
Members of the Board of Directors met with Minister of Commerce, Investment, Business Development and Consumer Affairs, to discuss the economy and Ease of Doing Business.
The Chamber and the Minister examined progress on the Ease of Doing Business and agreed that while some progress has been made there still was not sufficient aggressive action in some crucial areas. The Customs and Excise Department came in for praise, but the fact that little progress had been made on the important Single Window objective was disappointing.
The Minister gave an update on the work of the Ministry over the last few months where some changes to the structure had been approved by Cabinet, specifically the merging of the Small Enterprise Development Unit and the Trade Export Promotion Agency.
The Chamber raised concern over the high level of unemployment in the country and called for a national dialogue on this serious matter which affects the youth disproportionately. The Chamber also called for structural reforms including tackling the education system to improve outcomes and performances.
Other subjects discussed in the two hour long meeting included, Chamber proposals for amending VAT, the poultry industry, Article 164, the Trade License Regime and the problem of vagrancy in the country which the Chamber agreed to lead the discussion on finding a human approach to dealing with this bothersome and socially unacceptable situation.
The parties agreed to have follow up discussions and redouble efforts in making progress on “Making it Easier to Do Business in St. Lucia.”