June 01, 2011
Bahamas Chamber of Commerce president Khaalis Rolle yesterday applauded the government's decision to eliminate customs duty on surveillance equipment for businesses.
Rolle noted that security efforts have significantly impacted operational costs in the past five years as crime increased.
With surveillance equipment costing anywhere from $200 to $5,000 or more, Rolle said the tax break is much needed.
During debate on the 2011/2012 budget on Monday, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hubert Ingraham tabled the Revenue Act Order, advising that it removes "customs duty on all surveillance cameras and their apparatus, with a view to assisting businesses and helping us with law enforcement and crime prevention."
Rolle said this is a good initiative as the benefits of proper surveillance can not be overstated.
"You wouldn't begin to imagine the impact that it has," he said.
Rolle, an official of Bahamas Ferries, said he has been able to resolve several issues because of the surveillance equipment that he has installed.
"If you are truly serious about protecting your business, if you are in a location where you are exposed then certainly you need to have a surveillance system in place," he said.
Ingraham said that CCTV helped nab the men accused of robbing John Bull on Bay Street just over a week ago.
Armed robberies and house-breakings are becoming increasingly common, according to police.
In 2010, 919 armed robberies were recorded, a four percent increase over the previous year.
Robberies also increased by six percent last year, jumping to 334.
Additionally, 1,187 shop-breakings, 3,120 house-breakings and 379 burglaries were recorded in 2010.
While he had no specific data on the cost of security for businesses, Rolle said the figure would be very significant.
"It's easy to see that the cost of security has gone up significantly over the past five years," he said. "I've seen companies that traditionally wouldn't have 24-hour security get 24-hour security.
"If they had security it would be after dark but now if you calculate the cost of that additional time frame, it's expensive and then when you look at the surveillance, closed circuit, that's expensive also.
"When you factor [in transporting] money from [a] business to the bank, in the past a business owner would have been able to put the money in a bag, jump in his car and go to the bank. That's no longer the case.
"It's not safe so they hire armored cars. So that's three levels of security that you have to pay for. And the cost of security is pretty expensive."
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News date : 06/01/2011 Category : Nassau Guardian Stories