Evans: Lack of quality proposals has led to less IDB grant money
Bahamians have been largely unsuccessful when it comes to receiving grants from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) because of poorly written proposals and a lack of financial literacy, the bank’s private sector consultant Michelle Evans said recently.
Evans, who was speaking at the sixth annual Eleuthera Business Outlook on Friday, said poor quality proposals have caused Bahamians to miss out on grant money to advance agriculture, renewable energy and handicraft work initiatives. She added that islands like Jamaica consistently win the grants because of collaborative efforts between clusters of businesses and universities that assist in preparing the proposals.
“We have a serious issue with the technical capacity and ability to prepare proposals, to be able to qualify and to survive in the competitive space of the six English-speaking countries in the Caribbean,” she said. “We are not collaborating so that persons can benefit.”
Evans said one of the best local proposals that has been received by the IDB came from the One Eleuthera Foundation, but the foundation did not qualify for the grant it applied for because it was not considered a cluster of businesses.
Evans explained that there are many people at the Ministry of Education, University of the West Indies and University of The Bahamas who are able to assist in grant proposal writing.
In order for The Bahamas to hold its own in regards to receiving grants from the IDB, Evans said the IDB will have to hold grant workshops.
In terms of financial literacy, Evans said Bahamians have not been required to keep proper financial statements and therefore falter when having to present them for the purpose of grants. She said with the introduction of value-added tax (VAT), lack of financial information will become a thing of the past.
“Part of it could be because as a nation, historically we have not had to deal with taxes,” Evans said. “But now that we have VAT hopefully that will change.”