(SNO) — Taiwan has agreed to lend Saint Lucia US$100-million for the redevelopment of Hewanorra International Airport, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has revealed.
The prime minister addressed the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce last week Thursday where he touched on a variety of areas including infrastructure, health care, education and economic development.
“We have come to an agreement with the Taiwanese Government who have agreed to lend us 100 million US dollars to be able to do that project,” he stated, adding that the loan is being supported by the airport development charge.
Additionally, he stated $50-million will be borrowed from Taiwan for major upgrades of existing roads island-wide.
According to Chastanent, the road rehabilitation charge on gasoline will also be used to service that loan.
During his address to the Chamber, the prime minister said key indicators in the Saint Lucian economy have been “encouraging,” point out that tourism continues to show signs of growth and consumption and economic activity is on the rise.
“We have already seen that with the reduction of the Value Added Tax rate of 12.5 percent we are currently collecting slightly more money than we were collecting when we were at 15 percent,” he stated. “So mathematically that tells you that the turnover in the economy is absolutely there.”
He also said there is encouraging growth in in the information technology sector which has seen the creation of 2,000 new jobs.
He singled out the expansion of KM2 and OJO Labs.
Chastanent said the National Apprenticeship Programme and the partnership with Monroe College which will see hundreds of Saint Lucian young people receive hands on hospitality training.
“We continue on course and I am very encouraged,” he stated on that matter. “The amount of money that is about to start flowing into this economy and the investment that we are going to be making into the infrastructure of this country . . . there is a lot of work taking place on the ground and we are moving. What we are focused on is developing this country, improving the physical capacity, improving the human capacity and improving the bureaucratic capacity of this country.”
He stated that his government has been able to record the amount of investment to come to Saint Lucia.
“We have taken our time to be responsible and ensure the EIAs are done and we follow the law and to make sure it is going to benefit every Saint Lucian,” PM Chastanet pointed out. “We are calm, cool, collected and focused and we will deliver to the people of Saint Lucia.”