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News : Bahamas Information Services Updates Last Updated: Jul 16, 2018 - 2:09:39 PM

Government moving ahead to create tax-free zones
By Lindsay Thompson
Jul 16, 2018 - 12:46:09 PM

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The government is moving ahead to create tax free zones so as to empower residents to improve their way of life, particularly in the Over-the-Hill communities.  In the House of Assembly on Wednesday, July 11, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis tabled the Economic Empowerment Zones Bill, 2018 aimed at bringing about that desired effect.

The Bill seeks to designate communities as economic empowerment zones and to encourage the economic and social empowerment of residents in the specific areas.  It also seeks to provide for the granting of certain exemptions and fiscal incentives to individuals engaging in economic activities in the designated zones; to promote the construction, renovation and restoration of property and structures in a designated zone; and to encourage the principles of corporate social responsibility.

The Bill further seeks to provide concessions for property owners and businesses in good standing, among other things.

The Prime Minister foreshadowed this during his contribution to the Budget Debate in the House of Assembly on June 18, 2018.

It was an incentive programme developed to provide for the designation of Economic Empowerment Zones in The Bahamas beginning with the Over-the Hill community.

The 2018/19 Budget allocates $5 million for this initiative, in addition to a number of tax relief measures and incentives valued at an estimated $6 million.

The Prime Minister had, on April 25, 2018 presented in the House of Assembly the White Paper to restore the Over-the-Hill community, and officially presented the over-the Hill White Paper during a town hall meeting at Bethel Baptist Church on May 2.

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