The New Today
Local News

Congress looking to wind down MNIB operations by this September

The MNIB headquarters on Young Street, St George's will be no more from month-end

The ruling Congress government in St. George’s is forging ahead with plans to replace the cash-strapped state-owned Marketing and National Importing Board (MNIB) with a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell confirmed speculations when he announced the government’s plans on the way forward for the MNIB, during a special press briefing in St. George’s on Monday.

As the government looks to close the doors of the MNIB by September, the Grenadian leader outlined plans to repeal the MNIB Act, which established the MNIB in 1973 and does not cater to a PPP arrangement.

“What we are looking at here is potentially the creation of an actual company that allows for the government to be a shareholder with other private entities. What that does is automatically change the structure and the management structure of the entity,” he said.

“What we are looking for is to get private capital to actually invest in that entity… legally we need to make sure that to some extent we future-proof the political involvement that leads to a situation, where, almost the entire board and management, for instance, are driven by factors, not relating to the sustainability or the survivability of the entity, he added.

It was disclosed that 70 of the 94 MNIB workers will become unemployed by the closure, which will take effect at month end.

Some staffers will continue to work at the main Packing and Distribution outlet at River Road which is allowed to purchase produce from farmers and sell to the public until the new entity is established.

The MNIB will also continue to have the monopoly license to import refined sugar during the waiting period.

According to PM Mitchell, who is the line Minister for the MNIB, the government will pay $2.5 million in severances to the workers.

Related:  PM Dickon Mitchell: The local private sector should get involved in the Creative Economy

He noted that the government has had to step in and pay over $150,000.00 in salaries to MNIB workers since November last year and that this is unsustainable.

“We did not come to this decision lightly, I certainly do not for any second enjoy the fact that we have to get to a point… where we have to be severing staff, but the reality is, this situation was created by others who had the opportunity to correct it, chose not to do so and are now pontificating… about possible solutions,” said the Grenadian leader.

The Prime Minister told reporters that the Government will take over the financial debt of the state enterprise, which currently stands at approximately EC$15 million.

He also said that a technical working group has been appointed with a mandate to assist the Government in finalising the future organisational structure for a new entity under the PPP.

An inquiry conducted into the affairs of the Marketing Board by the Integrity Commission discovered several questionable acts of wrongdoing and referred the matter to the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) for possible criminal investigation.

The MNIB probe was sparked by a series of articles in THE NEW TODAY including one in which the former Chairman Samuel Andrew claimed that the then Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ruel Edwards had been hiding from the Board of Directors the true financial state of the company.

Andrew also highlighted the fact that he was experiencing difficulties in getting a meeting with the then Line Minister who was former Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell to brief him on the precarious situation including millions owed to creditors.

If you are satisfied with the information provided by The New Today to our many readers, followers and supporters around the world, then you can show your appreciation by making a financial contribution to the effort of our team of dedicated workers.

Giving back is a way of saying thank you for our efforts

Support The New Today