The Prime Minister spoke at a town hall meeting in Newtown

Prime Minister and Minster for Finance, Roosevelt Skerrit has revealed that in the upcoming 2017/2018 National Budget Address, a $15-million facility will be announced for manufacturers on the island.

He spoke at a Cabinet town hall meeting on Monday evening at Newtown

“I would like to inform you, the people of Dominica, that in this year’s budget, we are providing some $15-million to manufacturers of Dominica. That $15-million will be at three percent interest rate with a twelve month grace period, which means that you will not pay any interest or principal before the year is up,” he said.

Skerrit added that there is “nowhere in the Caribbean” that the interest rate on a loan of such magnitude can be found other than in Dominica.

He added that the budget for marketing Dominica will be increased as there is a notable increase in the number of stay-over visitors to the country, hence generating more jobs and economic activity.

“This year we are increasing the marketing budget for tourism…from $8-million to $12-million. There seems to be a historical increase in visitor arrivals, stay-overs, for the quarter of this year, unparallel to any year before. The more rooms that are occupied in Dominica is the more jobs for Dominica, more economic activity for Dominica, and better for all of us in Dominica,” he stated.

Also included in the 2017/2018 National Budget is more provision for upgrading the human resource capacity of the country and an entrepreneurial support program, according to Skerrit.

“In addition the small business assistance which we continue to do, we will be announcing a special package of measures for entrepreneurs, to build a culture or spirit of entrepreneurship in Dominica, and we will articulate this in a more detailed fashion when I deliver the budget address on behalf of the government and the people of Dominica,” Skerrit said.

With regard to human resource development, Skerrit said efforts are being put in place to have more graduate degree holders in Dominica and will include a special program targeting persons wishing to pursue an education in fields that are of “national priority.”

“What we have found with the government’s revolution to access to tertiary education, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of Dominicans with first degrees, but giving a second degree to really get the real in-depth knowledge of the area of discipline. So, we will be launching a special program to target the people interested in doing their masters degrees, but these national degrees must fall within national priority. So it is not what you want to study, but it is what the country needs,” Skerrit remarked.

He noted that there must be some form of reward to persons who return to the country after studies to render their services towards the development of the Dominica.