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The Bahamas Investor

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Investment environment and incentives
Investment environment and incentives

The Bahamas, through assorted acts and government policies, provides various investment incentives for both local and international investors. The following outlines some of the key initiatives to support investment and provides guidelines for those wishing to do business in the jurisdiction:

Investor Resources
January 16, 2013
January 16, 2013

Adapted from the 2013 edition of the Bahamas Handbook

In 1994, the government introduced a National Investment Policy to support an investment-friendly climate and foster the economic growth and development of The Bahamas. An edited version of the policy follows:

Investment environment
To support the National Investment Policy the government will provide:

1. A politically and economically stable environment conducive to private investment.

2. An atmosphere where investments are safe and the expropriation of investment capital is not considered.

3. A legal environment based on a long tradition of parliamentary democracy, the rule of constitutional and statute laws, and where security of life and personal property are guaranteed.

4. Clear and transparent investment incentive legislation.

5. An environment in which freedom from capital gains, inheritance, withholding, profit remittance, corporate, royalty, sales, personal income, dividends, payroll and interest taxes is ensured.

6. Timely amendment and/or enactment of new legislation as required.

7. Essential and reliable public services, including modern utilities infrastructure: water, electricity and communications.

8. An educational system designed to meet the needs of foreign and domestic investments.

With specific regard to the financial services sector, the government is doing its part to ensure the sector remains internationally competitive and adequately and prudently regulated. To this end the government has actively pursued, among others, the following initiatives:

1. development of a School of Business at The College of The Bahamas;

2. staffing of overseas Bahamas missions with officers who possess financial services experience and expertise;

3. increasing the level of government information and services available to the public electronically; and

4. accelerating the development of The Bahamas as an electronically and technologically sophisticated country.

Administration of policy
The National Economic Council (NEC), headed by the Prime Minister, is responsible for executive management of the investment policy. Operational activities are the responsibility of the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA).

Investment incentives
Investment incentives under the following Acts include, among other incentives, exemption from the payment of customs duties on certain construction materials, equipment and approved raw materials. Additionally, waiver of real property taxes is available for certain investments for periods of up to 20 years.

• Export Manufacturing Industries Encouragement Act

• Industries Encouragement Act

• Agricultural Manufactories Act

• Tariff Act

• Hotels Encouragement Act

• Spirits and Beer Manufacture Act

• Family Island Development Encouragement Act

• Free Trade Zone Act

• City of Nassau Revitalization Act

• Bahamas Vacation Plan and Time-sharing Act

• Hawksbill Creek Agreement Act

Areas targeted for foreign investors
Following is a list of certain investment areas especially targeted for international investors. However, the list is not exhaustive, and investors interested in areas not included should consult BIA. Joint ventures with Bahamian partners are encouraged, with the choice of partner being at the discretion of the investor.

1. Touristic resorts.

2. Upscale condominium, timeshare and second home development.

3. Marinas.

4. Information/data processing.

5. Assembly industries.

6. High-tech services.

7. Ship registration, repair and other ship services.

8. Light manufacturing for export.

9. Agro-industries.

10. Food processing.

11. Mariculture.

12. Banking and other financial services.

13. Captive insurance.

14. Aircraft services.

15. Pharmaceutical manufacture.

16. Offshore medical centres.

Areas reserved for Bahamians
1. Wholesale and retail operations.

2. Commission agencies engaged in the import/export trade.

3. Real estate and domestic property management agencies.

4. Domestic newspapers and magazines.

5. Domestic advertising and public relations firms.

6. Nightclubs and restaurants, except speciality, gourmet and ethnic restaurants and restaurants operating in a hotel, resort complex or tourist attraction.

7. Security services.

8. Distribution of building supplies.

9. Construction companies, except for special structures for which international expertise is required.

10. Cosmetic/beauty establishments.

11. Shallow-water scale fish, crustacea, mollusc and sponge-fishing operations.

12. Auto and appliance service operations.

13. Public transportation.

2 International investors may engage in the wholesale distribution of any product they produce locally.

What’s required in an investment proposal?

An international investor seeking to do business in The Bahamas should submit to the Bahamas Investment Authority a project proposal containing:

1. Name and address, including telephone/fax.

2. Executive summary of project.

3. Type of business–whether share company, partnership, individual or joint venture.

4. Principals–investors, major beneficial shareholders, including their dates and places of birth, as well as passport or social security numbers.

5. Proposed location.

6. Land requirements.

7. Start-up date.

8. Employment projections–number of Bahamian and non-Bahamian employees.

9. Management/personnel requirement–years of experience, training and work permits* for key personnel.

10. Financial arrangements for project, including bank reference.

11. Environmental impact–toxic waste, disposal procedures, toxic input.

12. Total capital investment in project with a breakdown of items and start-up cost. Minimum investment is $250,000.

* Necessary work permits for key personnel will be granted. Businesses requiring permits for persons other than key personnel are encouraged to consult BIA in advance.

For 50 years, forward-looking companies have been relocating to Freeport, Grand Bahama, taking advantage of business opportunities and lifestyle benefits that are not available anywhere else in the region. Download the Invest Grand Bahama supplement from the Spring & Summer 2012 issue here.

Read all about investing in The Bahamas in our Island Living section in the July 2015 issue of The Bahamas Investor. This special, 31-page supplement to The Bahamas Investor offers an essential overview for buying real estate in The Bahamas.

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