DFID completes Review of Montserrat’s Strategic Growth Programme

Montserrat received an improved rating following the end of the final review of the Strategic Growth Programme from DFID but has work to do in several key areas including tax reforms.

According to a statement from the Department for International Development (DFID), the government “sustained its commitment to the reforms process since the mid-term review reported in October. Good progress has been made in meeting February 2013 targets in most areas. The team recognises that some elements of the MoU reform process will need time to be embedded in GoM Departmental work plans.”

The report highlighted work in the areas of Investment policy, Tourism, and access as successful.

“Good progress can be reported on outsourcing but GoM should ensure that implementation plans are consistent. The review team asked GoM to set out an action plan to secure a postal code system for Montserrat by August 2013,” the report noted. DFID said performance has been below expectations in the following areas: Tax reforms, Review of regulatory functions; and Institutions.

Faster progress on regulatory planning and on tax reforms is an urgent priority. The review team requested an action plan to be set out by end June for regulatory enhancements, drawing on regional institutions and work already in train at the regional level. We underlined the importance of clear plans in this area given upcoming investments in geothermal, fibre-optic and access. In the area of tax, we asked for ToR for an action plan to be delivered by 24 May. This plan needs to be delivered by August 2013. Appropriate social policy assessments need to be factored into this work.

DFID Review Team ( left to right) Alan Clarkin, Tom Kelly, and Kato Kimbugwe.

DFID Review Team ( left to right) Alan Clarkin, Tom Kelly, and Kato Kimbugwe.

The review team said they “were pleased at how GoM has stepped up its efforts on communicating the purpose of the MoU reforms since October. This was recognised by representatives from the private sector with whom the review team consulted. They also noted that the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) was developing economic and financial models that will provide a clear picture of the benefits to GoM from prospective investments in Little Bay and Carr’s Bay investments. Further technical support will be needed to underpin this work.”

They also found evidence that the MDC was working hard to engage with prospective investors for a new port and landside developments. Investment proposals need to be considered carefully, including how any concessions compare to investment schemes offered in the UK.

The review was conducted from May 15 to 21, with the DFID team comprising of Tom Kelly, Kato Kimbugwe, Alan Clarkin. The met with government and department heads to discuss a range of issues related to investment and immigration policy, environmental management, access and communications. Meetings were also held with members of the private sector and the Opposition.

The SGP came about as a result of the Memorandum of Understanding which was signed between Montserrat and the UK in May 2013. In order for Montserrat to receive considerable financial support for development projects such as the new town, port and geothermal the government needed to make reforms in several key areas to make the island more attractive for investors and also to offer better value for money in its delivery of services.

To learn more about the SGP and the reforms, visit www.gov.ms/movingforward.

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