Charlestown, Nevis (July 11, 2007)
The Nevis Reformation Party led Nevis Island Administration cemented its support for small businesses on Nevis when it passed The Micro and Small Business Enterprise Ordinance 2007, at a sitting of the Nevis Island Assembly on Monday July 09, 2007. The Nevis Cultural Development Foundation Ordinance was also passed and paved the way for the establishment of a foundation to oversee the development of the island’s arts and culture.
According to the Hon. Hensley Daniel, Deputy Premier and Minister with responsibility for Trade and Industry and Culture in the Nevis Island Administration who tabled both bills, The Micro and Small Scale Business Enterprises Ordinance would provide a legislative framework for developmental support and financial relief with respect to small scale business enterprises and related matters.
The Minister noted that the Administration, since it took up office one year ago, had given assistance in various forms to small business. However, he said the new legislation would provide an enabling environment in line with international trends and also prioritise the areas for which assistance would be available in particular the areas of tourism development and manufacturing.
“We have assisted people but what we want to do is to provide the enabling environment and if you look at Section 11 [of The Micro and Small Scale Business Enterprises Ordinance] we want people to qualify for relief in terms of how do you qualify for assistance. This has nothing to do with which [political] party you support and this is an attempt to depoliticize the process and to go in line with international trends.“So we will assist you but we want to see what efforts you are making to become efficient and this would be measured by the turnover and record keeping. Businesses in Nevis have to step up to the plate in terms of management and operation because when you show up now at the various institutions for funding, you have to present them with business plans, statements of accounts and expenditure and income,” he said.
Mr. Daniel said that aside from simply providing the legislation, The Ministry of Trade and Industry would provide regular business and support for small scale enterprises to organise their businesses to ensure that the assistance they would translate into desired results.
Another key factor Mr. Daniel referred to would qualify an applicant for assistance was that the business needed to be locally owned however, under the legislation, they would not be precluded from collaboration and partnership with other institutions for financial and human resource development.
“We are ensuring that local people must become part and parcel of the development thrust and must get not just a little piece but a chunk of the action. This very idea of providing concessions has led to a significant upswing in the demand for small businesses. The more small businesses we have the better.
“We have targeted some students from Sixth Form we want our bright young people to get involved in creating wealth as they do in America and what we want to do is to nurture an enterprise culture in Nevis so that we don’t spend all of our best working years working for people, let us work for ourselves,” he said.
The Trade Minister also noted that the Ministry would work closely with then Ministry of Finance to ensure the businesses were licensed and with the Social Security Board to ensure that the applicants are a part of the self employed coverage. The applicants in turn would be required to work closely with the Ministry of Trade to ensure they are on the right track.
Notwithstanding, with regard to the Nevis Cultural Development Foundation Ordinance, he said the legislation was conceived in an attempt to sharpen the focus on culture and to add economic value to cultural development.
“What we are seeking to do is to move the development of culture and in particular Culturama and the community and parish festivals under a body”¦ We want to ensure that the commercial aspect of the arts is enhanced so the community festivals and Culturama are not just for entertainment but they are to make money so we could put together resources for training”¦
“We want to stop subsidising Culturama. Culturama is a big festival. It has tremendous potential but we have lagged in the marketing and the promotion of the arts and as such, the development and training, that is so absolutely necessary, is lagging behind “¦ We think that the National Cultural Foundation must bring some business acumen to this and ensure that our cultural products generate a certain amount of revenue,” he said.
According to the legislation, the affairs of the Cultural Development Foundation would be administered by a Board of Directors which would hold office for three years and would be entitled to re appointment. It would be headed by a chairperson, a deputy chairperson and a secretary appointed by the Board who would also serve as the treasurer.
The Board would be comprised of nine members. Three would be appointed by the Deputy Governor General from to represent the major art disciplines of visual arts, literature, music and performing arts after consultation with the appropriate representing bodies.
The other six members would be appointed by the Minister of Culture and would include two members from the private sector, one from the Nevis National Trust and three would represent the Ministry responsible for Culture.