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Tuesday, May 02, 2006 

Ministry of Finance & Planning

Gov't Working to Address Socio-Economic Problems
Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies, has said that inasmuch as the government's macro-economic programme had produced record levels of foreign direct investment in the bauxite/alumina, infrastructure and tourism sectors, there remained problems on the social and economic fronts, which the government was working to address.

"We must continue with the significant investments in the education and training system to bring the labour force to the point where it is capable of providing the value-added needed for this new phase of economic development," Dr. Davies said, as he opened the 2006/07 Budget Debate in Gordon House last week.

Speaking further, he said "we must continue relentlessly to fight against crime and violence, not simply to reassure foreign investors or tourists, but more importantly, to provide a civilised environment for our own people." "It is clear that the initiatives, which have been put in place are bearing fruit.we are not yet where we wish to be but progress is being made," the Finance Minister added.

He emphasised that the government would also "need to work with our micro and small businesses to better equip them not only to provide for the domestic economy, but more importantly, to reap some of the benefits to be derived from the demand of goods and services occasioned by the large investments, which were taking place".

Dr. Davies singled out the agricultural sector and domestic financial institutions as two other areas, which the government would be working to strengthen.

In respect of the agricultural sector, he said, "we will have to facilitate the transition in the agricultural sector utilising modern techniques to meet the demand for local consumption to supply the expanding tourism sector as well as to fulfil our export obligations".

Of local financial institutions, Dr. Davies noted that the government would be working to "reorient their focus from the purchasing of safe government paper, to supporting investments in the real economy."

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