St George’s, Grenada (GIS) — The Grenada economy is expected to grow by 2.6 percent this year, higher than the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) average of 1.4 percent.
Prime minister and minister for finance, Dr Keith Mitchell, made the announcement during his presentation of the 2015 estimates of revenue and expenditures in Parliament on Wednesday morning.
Mitchell said that the 2.6 percent economic growth being forecast surpasses the 1.5 percent projected when the 2014 budget was presented.
The lead sectors contributing to an improvement in the local economy have been identified as tourism, agriculture and education.
The Grenadian leader disclosed that tourist arrivals grew by 16.4 percent for the first nine months of the year.
Factors contributing to this rise include the opening of Sandals hotel, improved airlift and some aggressive marketing of the country by the newly established Grenada Tourism Authority.
Meantime, results of the 2014 labour force survey have indicated that unemployment in Grenada has fallen significantly.
Preliminary results of the 2014 labour force survey indicate that unemployment has now fallen to 29.5 percent from a high of more than 40 percent under the previous administration.
Also and as promised, the current government has rolled out more support to tackle the country’s housing needs.
There has been an increased allocation to the Grenada home improvement scheme from $5.35 million to $6 million.
There has also been an increase from two to four million dollars for the soft loan programme managed by housing authority.
The prime minister also announced that 350 families are about to receive housing units constructed in Soubise, Frequente and Mt Gay, under the Chinese low income housing programme.
The second phase of the Chinese housing programme will provide homes for 650 families, and will be constructed in Beausejour and Frequente in St George’s, Black Bay in St John’s, Diamond, St Mark’s, St Patrick’s and Dumfries in Carriacou.
It was also announced that the needy assistance programme has been doubled from $500,000 to $1 million.
The 2015 budget provides for total expenditure of $1,152,234,237.
The seven largest allocations are: debt $459.3 million, ministry of education and human resources $114.1 million, ministry of finance and energy $90.3 million, ministry of youth and sports $67.5 million, ministry of health $64 million, ministry of works $58.8 million, and pension and gratuities $48.4 million.