VAT Relief for Businesses in Hurricane-Hit Bahamian Islands

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Friday November 1, 2019 – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has announced a new Value Added Tax (VAT) Relief Policy for Abaco and the Cays and Grand Bahama until June 2020, as part of the Government’s effort to stimulate the economies of areas affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Under the new policy, individuals and businesses will be exempt from the payment of VAT on a range of items, including unprepared food of all types, water, fruit and vegetable juice, clothes, shoes, hats, belts, stockings, gloves, scarves, cleaning supplies, beds and bedding material, hardware supplies building materials, landscaping supplies, pest control supplies, electrical fixtures and materials, electrical generators, farming equipment and supplies, fishing equipment and supplies, manufacturing equipment, cots, protective and safety gear, household furniture, furnishings and appliances, solar panels, mosquito netting, plumbing fixtures and materials, office supplies and equipment, tents, air-conditioning units and other equipment.

VAT on fuel for generators in areas still without electricity will also be VAT-free.

Details and start date will be announced.

The Prime Minister, who made the announcement at a Town Hall Meeting in Green Turtle Cay, Abaco on Wednesday, also spoke of plans to establish The Bahamas National Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund, an independent non-political body to help fund home and building repairs. The Fund is included in the Disaster Reconstruction Authority Bill 2019 tabled in the House of Assembly on October 29.

“We want your economy to get going as quickly as possible. We want to get you back into your homes as soon as possible,” the Prime Minister told residents.

Dr Minnis also held a Town Hall meeting in Guana Cay on Wednesday and will hold Town Halls in Man-O-War Cay and Elbow Cay today to hear residents’ concerns and provide an update on the progress of reconstruction efforts.

Meantime, several entrepreneurs whose businesses were impacted by Hurricane Dorian have received $10 million in grant money.

“This $10 million is part of the funds we allocated from the dormant funds, which was passed through legislation earlier this year,” explained Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest.

“So we have taken $20 million from that fund, and $10 million we have allocated back to the Bahamian people through this offer of assistance to help people get back into business through support for inventory, support for fixtures and support for services they may need to get back operating as quickly as possible.”

“Small business is the backbone of any economy; it is particularly so on these effected islands, so in as much as we can get them back in operation as quickly as possible, we are going to accelerate the pace of the recovery effort,” he added.

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