Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday announced that the entire island of Grand Bahama would now be included in the special economic recovery zone implemented in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
Initially the designation was announced for East Grand Bahama, Abaco and the Abaco Cays for a period of three years.
The incentive provides for tax breaks and duty free purchases of designated material; a waiver of business license fees and real property tax; a value-added tax credit; the establishment of a $10 million loan guarantee; an equity financing program; extension of the provisional business license program; and the establishment of a business assistance one-stop shop.
“I’m happy to announce that these incentives have also been extended to the entire Grand Bahama for one year,” Minnis said during his communication to Parliament on Hurricane Dorian yesterday.
In his speech, Minnis highlighted a plea made by Senate President Kay Forbes-Smith when she addressed the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce on his behalf, asking the community to not only visit the unencumbered islands of The Bahamas, but to also invest.
“Today, Senate President Kay Forbes-Smith is speaking to the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce on my behalf and on behalf the country. She noted in her remarks: ‘As we rebuild and reconstruct Grand Bahama and Abaco, we will continue our program for economic growth and the ongoing recovery of The Bahamas,’” the prime minister noted.
“As we enter the reconstruction phase of this crisis, friends from around the world have asked repeatedly what we need. For The Bahamas to rebuild Abaco and Grand Bahama, there are two ways you can directly help: we need your investment dollars and we need you to come and visit.”
Grand Bahama and Abaco contribute roughly $280 million to government revenue each fiscal year.
It is estimated that it would cost government hundreds of millions, if not billions to rebuild those islands over a period of time.