Agriculture will continue to be the mainstay of Dominica’s economy.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit made this clear on Friday July 24th as he presented to the House of Parliament the 2015/2016 National Budget.
The Prime Minister revealed that his Government will continue to invest heavily in the sector.
Following his address GIS News sought the impressions of those in attendance.
Minister for Commerce, Enterprise & Small Business Development, Roselyn Paul shared these thoughts.
“A country’s development depends largely on its resource base and based on our natural resource endowment in Dominica we have to focus on agriculture. Agriculture is traditionally the greatest contributor to livelihoods particularly in the rural areas and has great potential for the expansion of the rural economy which supports the urban economy. So with agriculture being on the forefront and with the new initiatives this can take us to the next level so that Dominica can once again be self sufficient contribute to food security not only for Nationals but for our neighbors as well.”
She says overall the items addressed in the budget are a good mix, which will promote economic growth in a wide cross-section of society.
“This budget presented is tremendous, you would realize that it targets every sector of society and promotes economic growth thought the various sectors while ensuring that the underprivileged and marginalized in society are catered for and cushioned.”
GIS News also spoke with the Hon. Minister for Agriculture Johnson Drigo, who stated that the allocation for agriculture will certainly stimulate growth in the agriculture sector especially for livestock farmers.
He states, “This certainly is going to stimulate the farmers out there to take advantage of these opportunities. You heard the Prime Minister mention the sum of $4M dollars for the pork and poultry sub sectors, this is very significant. Quite a few of our pork and poultry farmers are under a bit of stress in terms of cost of feed and have been asking for assistance. With the preparation of the abattoir to commence later this year we definitely must give the farmers the support that they need to produce. My appeal to Dominicans generally is to start to prepare to eat local.”
The second largest part, 16.5 %, of the half billion dollar budget will go towards education.
The Hon. Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, Petter Saint Jean is pleased. He says investment in human resource development is the right way to go.
“We believe that if we are to make any inroads as a nation and if our economy is to take off there has to be a focused attention given to the whole issue of developing our people.
This year we again see a large portion of the National Budget being allocated to human resource development i.e. Training of our people at all levels. Importantly, we see allocations being made for continuing construction of the school plans and developing the Dominica Grammar School. We will also make inroads in areas such as Tibaud which we have been talking about for such a long time.
So all in all the Ministry of Education again takes a very large portion of the National Budget and I am really thank full because we believe that fundamentally if we are to do well as a Nation the Education of our people is paramount.”