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SVG growth hits 10-year high of 7 per cent in 2006



Pleased? Yes! Surprised? no!

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is all smiles over what he has termed a quite favourable and positive report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the state of this country’s economy.{{more}}

A release dated November 8 by the IMF on the 2007 Article 4 Consultations with this country states that this country’s economy has strengthened significantly in recent years, “with growth attaining a ten-year high of about 7 percent in 2006.”

The IMF predicts that this growth will remain strong for this year, at just over 6.5 percent “due largely to the strong performance of the construction sector”.

The introduction of VAT has also been praised, and concerns about inflation have been attributed partly to “the sharp rise in international commodity prices, including food and oil.”

“Looking ahead, St Vincent and the Grenadines now faces the challenge of continuing its rapid growth performance of recent years, to further reduce poverty and raise income levels,” the IMF report states.

Against the background of the various vulnerabilities this country faces, the IMF report encourages the creation of a favourable investment climate for the private sector, expanding remittance and investment flows from this country’s large oversees population.

“The economy’s rebound since 2001 is likely to have reduced unemployment, but poverty and social needs of vulnerable groups remain areas of concern, especially given the erosion of preferential access for exports of bananas to the European Union,” the reports states.

“If you want a report that says the fellas are doing a pretty good job, well here it is,” said Dr Gonsalves when he spoke to SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday evening.

He said that the IMF report is a summary of what his government has been saying and doing, and goes contrary to what the opposition forces have been preaching.

“You can’t fly in the face of facts,” Dr Gonsalves said.

“And the IMF is not in Ralph’s pocket,” Dr Gonsalves jabbed.

When SEARCHLIGHT contacted opposition leader Arnhim Eustace on Wednesday, he said that he could not comment on the report because he had not yet seen it.