NASSAU, BAHAMAS- An order outlining how persons can access the benefits under the special economic recovery zone designations for Abaco and Grand Bahama should be released in ‘full detail’ by Thursday, according to Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest.
The Finance Minister told reporters outside Cabinet on Tuesday the order is on his desk to be signed.
“We are doing a few tweaks to it and we will get a bit of clarification on a couple of points so that we make are we have the document drafted as the Prime Minister intended,” Turnquest said.
“Hopefully within today, tomorrow or Thursday at the latest I would imagine we will have that order out in full detail as to how people would access the various incentives that are available in that order.
Turnquest said: “All of the provisions of it are intended to be immediately available and as the Prime Minister said it is a three-year period that he anticipates or envisages for these benefits to be available for the reconstruction efforts.”
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced at a press conference on Sunday that East Grand Bahama, Abaco & Abaco Cays will be designated as special economic recovery zones for an initial period of three years.
Under this designation, Turnquest said there will be: duty-free purchase of all vehicles, materials, fixtures, furniture, and equipment for all businesses and residential construction rehabilitation efforts; waiver of business license fees; waiver of real property tax payable on all eligible properties that are reconstructed Restored or are otherwise inhabitable by October 2020; a value-added tax (VAT) credit of up to 50 per cent on the sale of all property.
There will also be an establishment of $10 million loan guarantee and equity financing program of which Bahamian small and medium sized businesses can secure up to $500,000 in financing under the government program to fund the restoration of businesses or the creation of new businesses; and a business assistance one-stop shop will also be created in Grand Bahama and Abaco to house representatives of SBDC, Bahamas Investment Authority, Ministry of Finance, Dept. of Inland Revenue, Dept. Environmental Health & building permits unit of various agencies. Additionally, East GB and the Abacos will be extended the bonded items facility similar to The GB Port Authority.