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Economic Development Unit to Focus on Micro Business Sector

The Economic Development Unit within the Office of the Premier is to be reorganised to provide support and help grow Montserrat’s micro and small business sector.

Premier Easton Taylor-Farrell shared this with the media on Wednesday, at his first official press conference since taking office. The minister provided an update on the activities within his department and shared that he and his fellow ministers have spent the time being brought up to date on the various projects and operations across the government.

(left to right) Bennette Roach of The Montserrat Reporter, Dwight Sampson of D. S. Media and Milykhia McKenzie of Alliouagana Express

The premier said the work has already begun to restructure the unit in order for them to push a mandate of education and business support, including enabling small businesses to apply for concessions. He added that the intention is to add a new agency which will focus on foreign direct investment, which his government aims to add to the mix of economic support for the island.

He acknowledged that the island’s reliance on financial support from DFID would remain, as well as that of the Caribbean Development Bank. The premier added that while the EU’s development fund commitment will continue until the end of the cycle in 2021, they do not yet know if the UK will fill in once it ends. However, he said his government “will seek to introduce strategies to reduce the islands dependence on aid financing.”

The three areas identified to help the island achieve financial independence are tourism, trade and investment.