We Mix Business with Pleasure.

Nelson A. King

WASHINGTON D.C., United States, Thursday April 25, 2013 –The World Bank says Grenada has advanced towards fiscal governance and  investment promotion and that it is also seeking to modernise several areas of  its operations as part of a project to enhance fiscal governance and promote  investment.

The Washington-based financial institution said the new Keith Mitchell  administration developed capacity in the conformity assessment for exported  goods, noting that customs procedures have became automated and cargo clearance  time has “significantly reduced from days to hours”.

The bank said conformity certificates are now being issued for Grenadian  export goods.

It noted that, by 2008, Grenada’s growth was being challenged by the  disastrous impact of two hurricanes, 2004-2005, which destroyed much  infrastructure and devastated agricultural exporters, and a reduced flow of  international credits under the onslaught of the global financial crisis.

The World Bank said Grenada urgently needed to create the conditions to  ensure the recovery of the domestic private sector, sustain economic growth, and  support the generation of fiscal revenues to finance Government programs and  control the level of public debt.

To that end, it said Grenada needed a strategy to promote investments,  develop effective systems, and speed up the processing of investment  proposals.

It said Grenada also needed the equipment and skills to conduct product  conformity assessments for exports.

The World Bank said the project supported development along two distinct  avenues: strengthening the revenue capacity of Government institutions and)  improving the environment for private sector investments and trade.

It said the key recipients of support were the Customs Department, the Inland  Revenue Department, the Grenada Investment Development Corporation, and the  Bureau of Standards.

The bank said the project focused on building strong institutions “with  forward looking management, strong information systems, transparency and broad  access to information, and effective procedures within the Government that would  reduce the administrative burden on the private sector actors”.

It said the project aimed at creating an “effective interface between the  business community in Grenada, represented by the Chamber of Commerce, and  Government institutions, led by the Ministry of Finance, so as to help minimize  administrative barriers to entrepreneurship and support economic activity in  Grenada and international trade with the goal of generating much needed  revenues”.

After the implementation of the Automated System for Customs Data-World  (ASYCUDA-World), the World Bank said the online management of customs procedures “significantly improved conditions for cross-border trade”.

It said that within weeks after it became operational, the system helped to  reduce the rate of physical inspections of commercial cargo from 60 per cent to  18 per cent, adding that cargo clearance times declined from four days in early  2011 to less than a day-and-a-half in June 2012.

The World Bank said the new information system improved client satisfaction  with the Customs Service.

It said since June 2012, clients have been able to submit their manifests  electronically and follow the customs procedures online.

It also noted that the Inland Revenue Department has introduced an automated  audit module in their information system that, following the data cleanup, helps  target non-payers of taxes more efficiently.

In addition, the World Bank said the Grenada Industrial Development  Corporation approved its investment promotion strategy, initiated baseline  studies in the priority development sectors, and developed improved access to  information and better, faster services to investors.

The Bureau of Standards also created capacity for conformity assessment, with  plans to expand its services to domestic traders.

“Newly acquired measurement equipment and technical skills, developed through  training, enabled Grenada to issue quality conformity certificates to both  exported produce and internally traded local produce and goods,” the World Bank  said.

It said that it provided credit to the tune of US$1.9 million to the project,  with the European Union strongly supporting it with 0.5 million grant-based  co-financing and ongoing support of developments in the information management  area after the project’s closure.

The World Bank said the project created demand for continued reforms, adding  that further support of strategic governance and the information systems in tax  administration will be provided by its Strengthening Economic Management in the  Caribbean Countries Regional Programme (SEMCAR).

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