February 10, 2017
In an effort to foster investor confidence in Grand Bahama, Prime Minister Perry Christie tabled on Wednesday the Grand Bahama (Port Area) Investment Incentives Regulations 2017, which outline the application process for certain licensees of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) to receive concessions.
The regulations are a requirement of the Grand Bahama Investment Incentives Act 2016, which was tabled last year. Already, the Investment Incentives Act allows tax concessions for licensees in areas such as real property tax and personal property tax, which are available to successful applicants for a period of up to 20 years.
"The implementation of these regulations will enable licensees of the GBPA to enjoy the aforementioned concessions for a defined period, and secure the economic growth of Grand Bahama and the welfare of the people of Grand Bahama," said Christie.
The regulations provide a detailed form to be used for all licensees applying for concessions.
According to Christie, "the application form reads in similar terms to that under the International Persons Landholding Act, Ch. 140, but was refined by the Hawksbill Creek Agreement Review Committee, which has input specific to the Port Area".
Christie, who is also the minister of finance, explained that the application is split into two parts for interested parties: "Persons who plan to expand their business within the next 12 months, and persons who do not plan to expand their business within the next 12 months, but expect to continue operating their business as a going concern and maintain current staffing levels for at least the next five years", he said.
The application form also requires applicants to submit key documents prior to approval. These include evidence of the current number of employees, evidence of value-added tax (VAT) compliance, evidence that the investment is sufficiently financed, an economic impact assessment, an environmental management plan (EIA), if requested by the board; and a site plan of the development.
Applicants who plan to expand their businesses may be required to "undergo further screening" and produce an EIA and a business plan.
The required documents would be subject to further review by the Bahamas Investment Authority and the Office of the Prime Minister.
The application will be made available online and at the Ministry for Grand Bahama, the GBPA and local government offices and agencies.
"Applicants will be vetted by the Ministry for Grand Bahama for evidence of VAT compliance, registration with the GBPA and payment of the prescribed fee to the relevant local authority," said Christie.
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