NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest said yesterday that the government expects to have the designated economic recovery zones up and running by November 11.
Speaking on the sidelines of a grant cheque presentation for eight entrepreneurs impacted by Hurricane Dorian Mr Turnquest stated, “We hope to be in a position for the Prime Minister to make his declaration next week with the full effect of the order coming into effect the week after. Hopefully around November 11 we will be in a position to have those zones up and running. One of the challenges we have to address is to the vendors themselves to ensure they are able to adjust their systems in time to be able to give affect to the order. We will be talking to the Chamber of Commerce in Nassau and the affected islands to see what kind of lead time they need to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunity that would exist.”
Mr Turnquest indicated last week that government intends to amend the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act, 2014, to ensure exemptions for residents on Abaco and Grand Bahama following Hurricane Dorian. Following the passage of Dorian, the government implemented a 90-day exigency order for the tax-free import into the affected islands of medicine and medical supplies, building materials, bedding materials, mosquito netting, electrical and plumbing fixtures and materials, household furniture, furnishings and appliances, electrical generators and other items. The government has since extended the order to December 31, 2019.
On Wednesday Dr Minnis announced a new VAT Relief Policy for Abaco and the Cays and Grand Bahama until June 2020, as part of the Government’s effort to stimulate the economies of areas affected by Hurricane Dorian. He made the announcement at separate Town Hall Meetings in Green Turtle Cay and Guana Cay.
The new VAT Relief Policy means that individuals and businesses will be exempt from the payment of Value Added Tax on a range of items, including unprepared food of all types, water, fruit and vegetable juice, clothes, shoes, hats, belts, stockings, gloves, scarves, cleaning supplies, beds and bedding material, hardware supplies building materials, landscaping supplies, pest control supplies, electrical fixtures and materials, electrical generators, farming equipment and supplies, fishing equipment and supplies, manufacturing equipment, cots, protective and safety gear, household furniture, furnishings and appliances, solar panels, mosquito netting, plumbing fixtures and materials, office supplies and equipment, tents, air-conditioning units and other equipment. VAT on fuel for generators in areas still without electricity will also be VAT-free.