The monthly meeting of the Economic Development Committee (EDC) was held on Thursday, 28 February 2019, and the following is a summary of the main items discussed:
Enterprise St Helena (ESH) delivered a report for the month of January; no grant funding applications were received during this month but funding was supported for the Shot-firing training that is due to take place in February. This will benefit the construction industry and enable the continuation of blasting and provision of aggregates. The ESH Board has also approved a recycling proposal to procure additional purpose-fit bins to aid segregated waste collection.
January saw another international tour operator from the Tour Operator Symposium, held in December, starting to offer tours to St Helena. This brings the total number of tour operators selling St Helena to 55. Two new local accommodation providers have now registered with the Tourist Office, bringing the available bed nights on-Island to 148 per night. January was a very busy month in our yachting community with the Cape to St Helena Yacht Race taking place plus the Oyster Rally and the World Arc Rally stopping off in their respective 'around the world' races. Relationships were built to continue these races coming to the Island and in particular St Helena was able to announce the next Cape to St Helena Yacht Race for 2020.
The Chairperson of the St Helena Fisheries Corporation Board provided an update on the Corporation:
Total fish landed for the month of January 2019 was 14t with a target of 31t. 10t of frozen fish was exported via sea freight with 750kg air freighted. Premium tuna is being airfreighted to South Africa with testing routes being explored to France and America.
With financial support from Enterprise St Helena, the Corporation was able to undergo a technical evaluation of the plant refrigeration equipment as well as to establish what is required so that the plant can be changed from R22 (gas) to NH3 ammonia due to the UK regulations. A report has been presented with recommendations that requires immediate repairs to the plant which includes amongst others compressor refurbishment, replacement of heaters, temperature probes and overhaul kits.
The freezer downsizing project should be completed by 31 March 2019. There has been delays due to design and late arrival of materials purchased overseas.
The Board of Management is currently reviewing the Fisheries Corporation Ordinance, policies and procedures and ensuring that recommendations as a result of the 2017/18 audited financial statements are being carried out.
The consultation responses regarding new taxes proposed were outlined. The changes to put forward to ExCo will include a change of eligibility for Gift Aid for donations over Pound 1000 to a lower threshold of Pound 500, as well as a number of other relatively minor changes which will be outlined in the ExCo Memo Annex B, after which they will be presented at the formal meeting of Legislative Council on 22 March.
Source: St Helena Government