Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 10, 2017 (SKNIS): The Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, in partnership with the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (Compete Caribbean) hosted a private sector development workshop on August 11 at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort under the theme “Stimulating Private Sector Development and Economic Growth.”

The workshop was initiated by Compete Caribbean in its thrust to building and developing the private sector with a focus on Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) through partnership.

Minister of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Honourable Lindsay Grant, said that the government is very supportive of its private sector as it is no doubt the major engine of growth and hence this initiative by Compete Caribbean is very timely as it enhances the work that the government has been engaged in and has identified as its policy initiatives on behalf of the private sector.

The minister has said that the importance of Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises cannot be overemphasized.

“They are central to our national economy and in recent times played an increasingly strategic role in rebuilding and rebalancing not only our national and our regional economies, but economies the world over,” he said. “We remain cognizant that these enterprises are trying to survive in the current hostile financial and competitive marketplace and urgently require long term and meaningful support from our respective governments.”

He added that as the minister of International Trade, Industry and Commerce and Consumer Affairs, he is of the firm conviction that St. Kitts and Nevis and the region as a whole must focus on policy execution so as to enable them to become more competitive.

“Improving competitiveness should be everyone’s focus as it is likely to be the key to our success for any country that operates in this globalized world,” said the minister. “We should not see our size as a deterrent, but rather as an opportunity, which is within our capacity to achieve robust development of our SMEs sector in the region.”

Compete Caribbean is a private sector development programme that provides technical assistance, grants and investments funding to support MSMEs among other engagements in 15 countries across the region.