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PM Christie presents core policies

Refocussing the Bahamas Development Bank, strengthening the domestic economy, reducing crime and developing the Family Islands are some of the core imperatives laid out by the Prime Minister in the Budget Communication May 30. Pictured: Prime Minister Perry Christie holds up the Progressive Liberal Party’s Charter for Governance during the Budget Communication in Parliament May 30, 2012. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna) 

Thursday, May 31, 2012
Thursday, May 31, 2012

The government will refocus the mandate of the Bahamas Development Bank and the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation to broaden their range of activities beyond lending money, to include the provision of equity, credit guarantees and marketing and accounting support.

Prime Minister Perry Christie made this announcement as he presented the 2012/2013 Budget Communication in the House of Assembly May 30, 2012.

Prime Minister Christie said the changes come as a result of the government’s second core imperative programme of change, which is the strengthening of the domestic economy and the attendant creation of jobs, the broadening of Bahamian ownership in the economy and the attainment of a higher standard of living.

The first core imperative is to address crime.

The Prime Minister also said that the government remains faithful to its commitment to explore all lawful means by which majority ownership of the Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) can be restored to the government and the Bahamian people.

“We shall very shortly arrange a timetable for discussions that we propose to undertake in this regard with the present owners of the majority stake in BTC and other interested stakeholders.”

Prime Minister Christie also said that as a means of stimulating the real estate market and the construction sector, the government is following up on its commitment to reduce the stamp duty rate on conveyances over $250,000 from 12 per cent to 10 per cent.

He noted that for the other rates of stamp duty, first-time homeowners already benefit from the existing exemption from stamp duty.

The government will, however, review the entire stamp duties on conveyances in the context of its overall programme of fiscal reform.

The Prime Minister said that the government is introducing a cap of $50,000 as the maximum real property tax payable on an owner-occupied residence as a means of further stimulating the construction sector.

He added that an allocation is being made in this budget for home repairs and community improvements under the auspices of both the Urban Renewal Programme and the Ministry of Housing in order to stimulate near-term job creation for small contractors.

Prime Minister Christie also announced that Exuma is being reinstated for eligibility under the Family Island Development Encouragement Act.

Under the provisions of the act, duty free importation of building materials is permitted up to June 30, 2013, for the construction of new buildings or the rehabilitation, remodelling or extension of existing residential and commercial buildings.

Islands which benefit under the Family Island Development Encouragement Act include Sweeting’s Cay and Water Cay, Grand Bahama; Grand Cay and Moore’s Island, Abaco; Current Island, Eleuthera; Andros; Cat Island; San Salvador; Rum Cay; Long Island; Crooked Island; Long Cay; Acklins; Ragged Island and Cays; Mayaguana and Inagua.

Former CEO of Mail Boxes Etc, Gershan Major, has joined Bahamas Telecommunications Co as vice president channels and marketing.

Chairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation Chester Cooper has said that small and medium-sized enterprises in The Bahamas greater access to capital and more support from the government.

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