Abaco is about one week away from finding out what a new master-planned Marsh Harbour and redeveloped Abaco could look like, Abaco Chamber of Commerce President Ken Hutton told Guardian Business yesterday, adding that he could not yet release any of the details of those plans.
Meanwhile, the businesses that have been able to open since Hurricane Dorian are continuing to await government’s instructions on how the tax-free zone imposed on the island should work.
Nearly every business in Marsh Harbour was destroyed due to Hurricane Dorian.
Hutton said there has been some frustration on the island as businesses continue to charge the little customers they have value-added tax (VAT).
When asked if he believed that VAT should not be charged on the storm-ravaged island, Hutton said, “As far as I know.
“As of right now Premier Importers [is] still having to charge VAT. They haven’t released the policies and regulations. They say it’s in place but there has been no release of information on how to go about it.”
The exigency order imposed by the government mandates that for 90 days medicine and medical supplies, building materials, tents, cots, bedding materials, mosquito netting, electrical and plumbing fixtures and materials, household furniture, furnishings and appliances and electrical generators would be tax-free.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest told Guardian Business yesterday that the ministry is finalizing the structure of the tax-free order put in place.
According to Hutton, some businesses are getting back to work, especially construction companies and heavy equipment companies, which he said have been busy.
“A lot of the construction companies, half-a-dozen of them, have returned and are doing pretty good business,” he said.
“All the heavy equipment operators are doing good business and are working.”
However, the essentials, such as the island’s largest supermarket, remain closed.
Hutton explained the economic activity on the island as being “pretty neanderthal around here”, as Abaconians slowly pick up the pieces of their lives after Dorian.