Some concessions for Grand Bahama and Abaco, extended

MINISTER KWASI THOMPSON during Saturday’s press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in Freeport, Grand Bahama. (BIS Photo)

Min. of State for Finance and for Grand Bahama, Hon. Kwasi Thompson has announced that Grand Bahama and Abaco residents wishing to replace their motor vehicles that were destroyed during Hurricane Dorian, will still be allowed to do so under the VAT and Duty-free concessions.

However, those vehicles will have to be purchased before January 31, 2021. This is an extension to the concession, which expired on December 31 st , 2020.

“We have listened to the public and we’ve taken the further decision that if you purchase your vehicles on or before January 31 st , 2021 and that vehicle arrives in the Bahamas by April 2021, you will be able to take advantage of the duty-free concession,” said Minister Thompson.

The Minister’s remarks came during a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister on Saturday, January 23, 2021, during which an update on many of the government’s projects and initiatives were outlined. “We’ve also made the decision that we would continue to put in place a zero- rated VAT concession for construction services,” added Minister Thompson. “This is important, because not only will you be able to get customs duty-free building materials, but also for the contractor’s service, you will be able to take advantage of the zero-rated VAT concession. We want to do what we can to keep the cost of construction as low as possible and that is the reason why we have extended that concession. It has been extended to June of 2021. So, we want to tell residents in Grand Bahama and Abaco that they can take advantage of these concessions.”

It was in the aftermath of the devastation of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019 when the government made a strategic and important decision to designate the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, ‘Special Economic Recovery Zones.’ Within those zones, residents were allowed to take advantage of duty-free and VAT-free concessions, as well as business license concessions. These concessions were extended due to COVID-19 pandemic for those individuals who were unable to take advantage of the concessions previously.

Extension was set to expire on December 31, 2020. However, certain aspects of the concessions were extended beyond December 31, 2020 for building materials, equipment and furniture. “This is important because construction continues to be an important part of our rebuilding efforts in Grand Bahama and Abaco,” added Minister Thompson.