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The National Competitiveness And Productivity Council - St. Lucia

The National Competitiveness And Productivity Council - St. Lucia A council established to ensure the efficient and proper use of available resources, to increase lev The changing contours of the global political economy characterised by the erosion of preferential trade arrangements; dwindling grants and aid; increased competition for foreign direct investment and donor fatigue, demands that the Government of St.

Lucia maximizes the use of limited resources. Due to this the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council was born. Our responsibilities include identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in St. Lucia. Thus, the Council and its secretariat are committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymake

Lucia maximizes the use of limited resources. Due to this the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council was born. Our responsibilities include identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in St. Lucia. Thus, the Council and its secretariat are committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymake

Operating as usual

On Thursday, May 19th, 2022 the Department of Finance facilitated a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to c...
19/05/2022

On Thursday, May 19th, 2022 the Department of Finance facilitated a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to conduct its annual Article IV mission to Saint Lucia from May 9th to May 23rd, 2020. The mission aims to gain insights and assess Saint Lucia’s economic development and prospects.

The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC), the Research and Policy Unit, led by the Permanent Secretary in the Department of Finance, Esther Rigobert, engaged the IMF team in discussion on: labor productivity trends competitiveness with a specific focus on tourism, policies for strengthening Saint Lucia’s competitiveness, structural reforms - secured transactions in movable properties, bankruptcy and insolvency legislation, ease of doing business reforms, foreclosure and credit reporting.

The World Bank Group (WBG) in collaboration with the Government of Saint Lucia conducted a Country Fiduciary Review (CFR...
17/05/2022

The World Bank Group (WBG) in collaboration with the Government of Saint Lucia conducted a Country Fiduciary Review (CFR) of Saint Lucia.

The Government of Saint Lucia and the WBG hosted a joint mission from May 17 - 18, 2022 mainly to disseminate the CFR report and discuss procurement and financial management work in progress under WBG financed projects.

A Public Financial Management (PFM) system is a set of rules and institutions, policies and processes that govern the use of public funds across all sectors, from revenue collection to monitoring to public expenditures.

This CRF took place in 2021. The Government of Saint Lucia has been reducing fiscal deficits and public debt levels as a priority in order to create the fiscal space needed to support growth-enhancing, investments, conduct countercyclical policies and mitigate the impact of external shocks.

13/05/2022
ICT training for blind and visually impaired persons

The month of May is observed as Blindness Awareness Month where increased attention is focused on the successes, challenges and strides of the blind and visually impaired segment of the population. The theme for this year’s Blindness Awareness Month is “I am more than what you see.”

For years, braille has been the only form of direct access to the written word for persons living with blindness. The St. Lucia Blind Welfare Association (SLBWA) in its thrust for inclusion, resilience and increased opportunities for its member organized a week-long ICT training programme to build competencies whilst equipping its members with the added tools for employment and job creation. Anthony Avril is the Executive Director of the SLBWA.

“The computer technology is certainly opening the world in many ways so that we can communicate with people who can’t read braille but can read regular prints. This is where the computer gives us an advantage. I am saying us because I am part of the community as well being physically blind.”

The SLBWA advocates for the inclusion of everyone regardless of their visual status and thus has embraced the opportunity afforded through ICT to balance the playing field for its members.


“Of course, there is always a constrain of resources to engage regular IT Teachers because we have to provide the access not just to school children but also to those who are interested in continuing education, interested in employment and you know these days online employment has become one of the ways to go for many of our persons who through no fault of theirs would be restricted and homebound…And we are very grateful for this. So you will notice that we have a group of our people and that they are really enjoying the opportunity. We want to expose many, many, many more and we also what to do it in the south of the island as well.”

Lance Prospere was the tutor for the ICT training session at the SLBWA. He is currently the IT teacher at the Dame Louisy Primary School. He said though it was challenging teaching computer skills to low vision and blind persons he was impressed by how quickly they picked up the tips and techniques he taught.

“This programme should show that ICT is something that should be implemented fully because those persons with disabilities are able to navigate the computer and this programme really demonstrates that they should be introduced to ICT at an early level.”


The World Health Organisation estimates that over 2.2 billion people globally are impacted by some form of visual impairment or blindness, this includes everyone who wears some form of corrective lenses. Lina Theophilus is a member of the SLBWA who participated in the computer training. She advocates for increased opportunities for blind and visually impaired persons.

“I don’t think that persons with blindness or visual impairment keep themselves back. I think that people don’t give blind and visually impaired persons a chance to show what we can do or what we can learn. Because, not because we cannot do it the same way that visual persons can that doesn’t mean that we cannot learn to do it differently. So I don’t think we keep ourselves back, I think persons don’t give people with blindness or visual impairment a chance to learn something new.”


John Joseph expressed his appreciation for being included in the ICT training programme and hopes for increased opportunities for persons like himself.

“I have used a typewriter in a secretarial school I attended but to literally use a computer it’s my first time and that programme honestly through my heart, I love it.”


The ICT training was organized for both basic and advanced participants. The Executive Director of the SLBWA encourages individuals in the wider community to share their time and skills to make a positive impact on the lives of persons living with blindness and visual impairment.

31/03/2022

The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) encourages innovation and innovative thinking to boost national productivity and competitiveness. The Anse La Raye Infant School is being highlighted by the NCPC for its innovative approach to student learning.

Nestled in the quaint community of Anse La Raye is a laboratory for innovation and creative thinking merging mathematics and science into tangible expressions for learning. Grade 2 Teacher at the Anse La Raye Infant School, Martina Raphael-Poleon conceptualized a novel project to create 2D and 3D objects by combining mathematics and science to keep her students engaged, confident, and connected to their learning.

“I want the children to see that there is joy in doing mathematics. There is something about mathematics. Mathematics is used all around the world, we use it in baking, we use it in farming, we use it in nursing, we use mathematics all over the world. We want them, whether you become a farmer you can use mathematics. And they have been exposed to this content. So I said, ‘Students, we are going to do something very creative using mathematics and you will love it."

The students, assisted by their parents, designed their projects, guided by an agreed template which focused on the use of everyday materials such as plastic, metal, cloth, wood, or paper to form 2D and 3D shapes to complete their project.

“They use that information from the template to create a bar graph and a pictograph because these children were exposed to data management representing data in tables…and I am very, very pleased that this activity was excellently well done by all of the students who presented their projects here today.”

Creativity was on full display as the students presented their projects. A school bus, model homes, playgrounds, beach chairs, and even a one-of-a-kind grater. Katelyn Montoute and Janach Michel explained their projects.

“I made a park. I have different materials like cloth, plastic, paper. So my teacher told me it’s not that hard to do math and we can do math in anything and my mother and father helped me do this project.” Katelyn said.

“My project is a fighter jet. It has a pilot in the front and the two front wings have two guns on them and the back wings have one gun and under it has four wheels. So when it’s about to take off the four wheels will make it take off while it's driving, so it could kill the bad dinosaur before the dinosaur destroys the world.” Janach stated.

Albert Joseph is the Principal at Anse La Raye Infant, he says that the school recognizes the cultural diversity of their community and thus innovation is at the center of teaching and learning.

“So the children are very much engaged in the creative aspect. We try to engage them in dance, music, theatre, all of these as well as to marry the academics. So our vision, in essence, we are looking to ensure we create a holistic child ensuring that they have all the skills that are necessary so that they can function not just in school but outside in the world as well.”

From 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm is the USSR which stands for Uninterrupted Sustained Silent Reading, another initiative employed at the Anse La Raye Infant school to encourage the love of reading and improve comprehension skills. The principal recited the special song used to encourage reading.

“Oh, how I love reading. Oh, how I love reading. Oh, how I love reading because it’s good for me.”

“We’ve gotten the children books, we’ve had them begin to read and as long as they hear the bell they know that it’s time to get into their seats, select a book and begin to read and they’ve enjoyed it, they’re read so many books.”

With the challenges faced by the Covid-19 pandemic and the negative effects on both students and teachers, the Anse La Raye Infant schools have added innovation to make learning fun, engaging, and creative for its students.

08/03/2022

The NCPC wishes all Women a Happy International Women's Day. Have a joyful, peaceful, and productive day.

02/03/2022
Frontliners take advantage of government concessions to purchase their private vehicles

The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council in the Department of Finance is charged with monitoring the initiatives implemented by the Government of Saint Lucia under the Economic Recovery and Resilience Plan (ERRP) which were designed to combat the socioeconomic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the early stage of the pandemic, the Medical Director at the Victoria Hospital, Dr. Alisha Eugene-Ford lamented a very worrying situation for frontline workers, particularly nurses.

“Some of the staff have been complaining about some of the stigma and discrimination they go through because they are actually taking care of persons who are suspect Covid cases…”

Natalie John, a Registered Nurse attached to the Vieux Fort Wellness Centre, said the stigma and discrimination dished out by certain sections of the public had a profound physiological impact on herself and her fellow colleagues which was compounded by the increased death toll and workload brought about by the pandemic.

“It’s because the comments that were being made, it was like, hey I am human, I am somebody’s relative. So at the end of the day, they were like, why are you doing this to me? I felt the psychological effects. I am putting my life at risk, why are you directly attacking me? That’s how it felt for me physiologically.”

Policy Intervention number 21, under the ERRP, provided duty-free concessions on the purchase of a vehicle for frontline essential public service staff.

“For the first time, I was like, thank you, Jesus. Honestly being a frontline worker, I was like thank you, Jesus.”


Chief Economist in the Research and Policy Unit in the Department of Finance, Janai Leonce, highlighted the success of this initiative which was a direct response to the transportation and discrimination issues faced by frontline workers in the early stage of the pandemic.

“So we sought to remedy that situation and work with all stakeholders involved to putting a system in place that would allow for frontliners, healthcare workers, to access vehicles whether it be new or used at affordable rates and we are quite pleased with what has happened to date. Over the year and a half, we have had just under 400 persons benefit from that package and that actually exceeds our expectations. So it means that there was a demand for the service and it means that we have provided as many frontliners with a means of transportation who in some cases would not have been able to afford with the duties or what have you. Or, they would have it put off years into the future. So we are quite pleased with how it has worked out.”

Nurse John was one of the first to take advantage of this incentive. The new vehicle, she says, has increased her overall work output and productivity and has positively impacted her quality of life and that of her family.

“No, I would not have been able to get the latest now, if the concession had not been available and in terms of what it has provided to the frontline workers. It was amazing to see that you were able to easily, through organizations and the assistance they provided, access to finance for payments and also to be able to say you have something that belongs to you.”


The Chief Economist noted that despite the significant loss of government revenue resulting from this initiative, the government has been pleased with the outcome for all stakeholders.


“Just shy of EC$7 million has been forgone in duties related to the initiative. So, it means that there was quite a bit of uptake and while the state recognizes that is a sizeable sum of money, particularly in this environment, I think it treated a need, and the department is pleased that we were able to satisfy that need and also show some gratitude to the sacrifices that our frontliners have made. So it is a sizable sum but we recognized the need and the department always tries to work with each of the stakeholders and ensure that we get through this pandemic. We are hoping to turn the corner, as it were, in the near future.”

Nurse John encourages all frontline workers who are in a position to do so to take advantage of the concession provided by the government to purchase a reliable vehicle. The concession was extended by the Government of Saint Lucia but is due to end in September 2022.

02/03/2022
Ministry of Health Press conference (March 2, 2022)

Covid-19 has reduced national productivity however this update by the Ministry of Health and Wellness has provided hope, confidence, and a sense of resilience in our new approach to this pandemic at this phase in the management of Covid.

25/02/2022
Public Procurement is centered on transparency, not just visibility

The Procurement Administration Unit in the Department of Finance is finalizing regulations to the new procurement legislation enacted in June of 2021. Ag. Director of Procurement Administration, Anthony Jean, said the impact of procurement on the estimates of national expenditure is significant as government is the biggest procurer of goods, services, and works on the island.

“Anywhere in the region of 15 to 20 and in some years 25 percent of your estimates and you can imagine that in the last five years our estimates have been in the region of 1.2 to 1.5 billion. That is a lot of our expenditure going in that direction.”

Jean indicated that there is increased scrutiny by the general public with regards to the use of public funds and thus public officers must adhere to a logical process that ensures transparency, accountability, and fairness in the procurement process.

“So, it really puts public officers, public officials, under a broader microscope in terms of accounting. So the procurement processes in place are all part of the Department of Finance’s whole efforts towards improvement in our fiscal accountability framework. You would have seen similar upgrades being done in terms of Public Financial Management laws. So, all of this is in response to increasing demands on public officers to be more accountable and transparent in their actions.”

Saint Lucia’s procurement legislation was designed in congruence with international best practices. Jean says, the procurement process should encourage broader participation and capacity building through competition and it must be viewed as an important indicator for monitoring national productivity.

“So it increases productivity. It allows people to be more strategic in their actions. You get more for fewer resources and efforts expended.”


Jean explained the difference between transparency and visibility in the procurement process.

“It’s one thing to say, in our annual estimates we allocated a million dollars to a particular activity and at the end of the cycle we can all see the asset exist, be it a structure or whatever. That is visibility, not transparency. Transparency in terms of public procurement requires that all parties, all stakeholders involved can clearly see the process that was followed in acquiring that asset. So if I was capable of participating in that in that opportunity, I can at least admit that clearly based on the requirements that had to go into this, I would not qualify. So, I know where it is I need to work on if I want to get to that stage at some point in my career. So it fosters that sort of reliance, credibility in our processes. So transparency is a little more in-depth than just visibility.”

The Director of Procurement Administration noted that despite the government’s desire to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of public procurement by gaining increased value with the limited resources available this must not be achieved at the expense of suppliers.

“What you want to accomplish is a win-win situation where government as the buyer, the suppliers local, regional and international as our partners in providing public services; You don’t want a situation where government wins and they lose because that is only short term. Vice versa you don’t want the government to lose at the expense of suppliers, they will in the medium term suffer the consequences of that. So procurement requires, yes we get goods and services at reasonable prices but also your suppliers market develops as well. So you must strike that balance.”

Procurement legislation is relatively new to the Caribbean region and thus Saint Lucia’s new Procurement Act and Electronic Government Procurement system (eGP), Jean says, is being monitored by many jurisdictions as a model for public procurement administration.

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