NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis has assured that the government will introduce revisions to the controversial boat fee increases by the mid-year budget later this month, acknowledging flaws in the initial implementation.
“We aimed to attract individuals to purchase boats in The Bahamas and register them here. We assessed the impact of any increase on fishermen and owners of small boats, and it was not our intention to burden them. Unfortunately, in the implementation, they were affected,” Halkitis acknowledged to Eyewitness News.
“We anticipate introducing revisions very shortly, ideally by the mid-year budget at the latest. It was not our intention to involve small fishermen and entrepreneurs in this system. Our long-term goal has been to establish a yacht registry and eliminate duty and VAT on boat imports to encourage registration.
“Regrettably, flaws occurred in the implementation, and we apologize for the inconvenience caused but want to assure fishermen that changes are underway to provide relief to them.”
The tenfold and more significant increases in boat registration fees, as outlined in the fee schedule introduced with the 2023-2024 Budget, have triggered anxiety and protests within the maritime industry.