Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday tabled legislation to establish economic empowerment zones in Over-the-Hill communities.
The government introduced a white paper for its Over-the-Hill rejuvenation initiative earlier this year.
The Economic Empowerment Zones Bill, 2016 details tax exemptions and benefits for residents and businesses in the designated zones.
Businesses with an aggregate turnover of $5 million or less will be exempt from customs duties for the import of commercial vehicles, business license fees and excise tax.
Residents who are seeking to build homes in the zones will receive exemption from customs duties on all materials necessary for the construction or reconstruction of buildings and structures. Homeowners in the zones will also be exempt from real property tax, excise tax and stamp duty.
Businesses that sell alcohol as their primary activity and gaming houses are not eligible for the exemptions.
Once it is brought into force, the bill will expire on July 1, 2023.
The minister may order an extension of the act for a further five years as necessary, the bill notes.
The prime minister has noted that through these initiatives the government hopes to see a rebirth of the values, beauty and economic viability of Over-the-Hill.
He has said the idea of the initiative is to reinvigorate businesses, create job opportunities, stimulate higher living standards and improve the quality of life for residents of Over-the-Hill.