Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): During her support of The Appropriation (2021) Bill, 2020, on Thursday, December 17, Minister of International Trade, Industry, Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Labour, the Honourable Wendy Phipps, highlighted some of the upcoming projects her ministry has in store for 2021.
For 2021, the recurrent expenditure projected for the ministry is $4,673,747 with a capital expenditure projected at $670,000. The budgetary allocation in total, both recurrent and capital expenditure, is $5,343,747. Minister Phipps stated that throughout the year the ministry will be using its funding for the continuing expansion of services being provided by the SKNBS.
“It will also allow us to do genetic mapping in terms of species of animals including fish for example,” she said. “When the Fisheries Division sells fish, if there are queries going forward, because of the addition of a PCR machine to the cadre of equipment at the Bureau, we will be able to know if you are being sold a piece of salmon, and if you take it to the bureau is it really a piece of salmon that you have paid for or did you pay for marlin. That is to give you a very basic understanding of what that genetic clarification does.”
In 2021, there will also be the conducting of more indoor and outdoor air quality testing, household inspections, and building inspections to include testing for asbestos. “In the past, we would have had to ship those samples outside,” she said.
In terms of CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), it will be lending its assistance in 2021 to ensure that some five businesses in St. Kitts and Nevis are part of a pilot to become ISO 9001 Certified, said Minister Phipps. Carib Brewery would be the first among these.
There will also be the completion and renovation of other sections of the laboratory at the SKNBS including metal cabinetry as well as the placement of epoxy flooring to meet international standards so that the lab can be fully accredited.
A full-time Metrologist will be in place. Someone who is already at the Bureau will fill that position.
In 2021, the ministry will also be focusing its attention on the revisions of the National Manufacturing Strategy of 2014 to 2020.
“Over the years there has been limited buildout of that strategy, but nevertheless the time has come to revisit it, not because it has come to an end based on the years that it should have covered, but in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the harsh realities that we are being forced to recognize in terms of which businesses are more resilient than others, and as I pointed out earlier, manufacturing has shown its strength in terms of resilience under COVID,” said Minister Phipps.
In terms of the Ministry of International Trade, five new positions will be made available in order to support the SKNBS and also to support the office of the minister. These include an Investigations Officer upgraded to Chief Investigations Officer, a Standards Officer, Air Quality Technician, an Administrative Assistant, and the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points Coordinator.
In terms of capital projects, the main project, which accounts for the $670,000 being asked for, is to complete the renovations of the laboratories at La Guerite for the SKNBS.