INVEST Saint Lucia, formerly the National Development Corporation, has projected a flow of US$1.5 Billion in investment projects into the Saint Lucian economy by 2020 and the creation of 8000 jobs.
Costello Michel, Chairman of the national investment company made the announcement yesterday at a press conference.
“We take our responsibility at Invest Saint Lucia very, very seriously because we think Saint Lucia needs the seriousness that an organization like Invest Saint Lucia can play in the country’s whole economic growth,” Michel said.
The company last year projected an injection of US$200 million into the Saint Lucian economy and the creation of 900 jobs but fell short of that projection by US$32 million recording instead US$168 million, out of which US$124 million has been attributed to direct foreign investment and the rest to local investment.
Last year’s foreign direct investment flows went basically into the tourism and ICT industries. The identities of the companies that provided the permanent jobs were not disclosed. Invest Saint Lucia notes that the non-disclosure is one of the conditions they had to abide by with the investing companies.
Of the 900 jobs that were targeted for last year 600 were supposed to be permanent and 300 transient.
“The country was able to welcome 2,914 transient jobs and 577 permanent jobs that were directly attributed to the investment flows,” Andrew the CEO said.
Two hundred and seventy-seven of the permanent jobs went into tourism while 183 went into infrastructure, namely ICT which is viewed as soft infrastructure. The remaining 117 permanent jobs went into the commercial sector.
The projections for this year in terms of direct investment and jobs are more than last year’s based, it seems, on projects that started last year and which may come to fruition later this year. Such projects are the Blue Diamond Saint Lucia/Royalton resort; Harbour Club, which is a tourism based project; Windjammer (tourism); Unicomer (Courts) which is classed as a commercial investment, as is Rubis. Other ongoing projects are the Six Senses Residences at Freedom Bay, which is a tourism project and the project in the Anse-la-Raye/Canaries area by the Boka Group.
Projects that are in the pipeline for this year are chicken processing facilities, a pasta and ramen processing facility, a flour mill, an insulated concrete farm factory, two 4-star developments, a dining and entertainment centre, a 5-star hotel development and a development that falls under both the infrastructure and tourism sectors.
Michel said that the outlook for this year is encouraging and that it was clear that investors’ confidence had increased, particularly with the Citizens Investment Programme and other ongoing policy reforms. However he was cautiously optimistic of all of this given downside scenarios.
Invest Saint Lucia for this year has projected investment inflows of US$331 Million and 2200 jobs
The company is optimistic of its projection for 2020, which is based on its adoption of a five year strategic plan that was formulated in March of last year.
“We are very confident that the overall target for the five years will be met, other things being equal,” said Mc Hale Andrew, the company’s Chief Executive Officer.
Both Michel and Andrew expressed confidence in the projections tabled and the five year strategic plan the rationale of which, they said, was to refocus Invest Saint Lucia to the proactive investment promotional approach through the targeting of potential investors for key sectors and niche investment opportunities.
Michel said: “We looked at where we want to be in 2020. We set a vision and we are looking at a five year span. We are looking at where we want to be in 2020 and expect to be vision focused, purpose driven and a professional investment promoting agency and by then we believe that we would have created US $1.5 billion in direct invesment, resulting in approximately 8000 new jobs and in those five year we would have assisted in ensuring that significant linkages and substantial investment in health and education take place.