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Hurricane Season Soon Come: Customs Concessions Announced
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Page 1 of 1Total of 2 messages
Posted by:May 31st 2005, 08:22:06 pm
Fig Tree News Team31st May
Support For New Tax Exemptions
Tosheena Robinson-Blair
Nassau Tribune

Members of The Bahamas Hotel Association have welcomed the government’s decision to slash import duties on certain electrical goods they deem vital for the growth of the tourism industry.

An official of the Nassau Tourism and Development Board, meanwhile, described the budget as "very middle of the road."

"It contained nothing extreme. It’s a budget within our reach as it relates to tourism," said NTDB Chairman, Charles Klonaris.

Bahamas Chamber of Commerce President Tanya Wright declined comment on the budget, saying her board was set to meet on the matter on Wednesday.

Among other things, the 2005/2006 budget cuts the rate of customs duty on electric generating sets from 35 percent to 10 percent in order to assist in meeting emergencies caused by hurricanes and storms when electricity to households and businesses is disrupted.

In a move to encourage the use of alternative sources of energy for heating, the customs duty on solar panels and related parts will also be duty free, from its previous rate of 35 percent.

Frank Comito, executive vice president of The Bahamas Hotel Association, said, "These are both categories of items that the Hotel Association has long felt needed some duty relief because they are indeed items that both sustain the tourism product and protect the environment and we are really pleased to see the inclusion, particularly on the solar panels."

He added, "Generators are a fact of life in dealing with the realities, particularly in the Family Islands, so [the fact that] the duty reduced from 35 percent to 10 percent is certainly welcomed news."

During a recent address to an association of electric utility companies, Acting Prime Minister Cynthia Pratt pointed out that The Bahamas required an "innovative" National Energy Policy that would take into consideration the increasing cost of fuel.

"Imagine if you will a potential business being unable to secure an uninterrupted, reliable supply of electricity. Imagine what that would do to that investor’s plans. Imagine what that would do to a country," she said.

Previously, Minister of Works and Utilities Bradley Roberts linked the increasing demand for power supply with the growing amount of new developments throughout the Family Islands.

Mr. Roberts has said that the Bahamas presents a unique challenge to an electricity supplier in that every island requires a duplication of plants, staff and fuel shipping into and within the country.

With the planned Atlantis expansion in New Providence and the proposed transformation of the Cable Beach strip into one of the largest mega resorts in the Caribbean, BEC is being hard pressed to expand and upgrade its equipment and performance, he said.
Posted by:May 29th 2005, 05:24:56 pm
Fig Tree News TeamMay 27, 2005 – 23:01
Customs Concessions Announced
The move was expected to bring relief to residents who tend to purchase the items abroad especially in preparation for the Atlantic Hurricane Season that officially begins on June 1.

The Progressive Liberal Party government yesterday announced a plan of reduced and eliminated import tariffs in the new fiscal year, as has been custom.

Acting Prime Minister Cynthia Pratt made the revelation in the 2005/ 2006 Budget Communication yesterday, which was one of the shortest budget addresses in recent years. It continued a new tradition of conciseness and brevity that Prime Minister Perry Christie started last year.

The communication was delivered in just over one hour.

In the new fiscal year, the rate of duty on generators will be slashed from 35 percent to 10 percent, Mrs. Pratt revealed.

The move was expected to bring relief to residents who tend to purchase the items abroad especially in preparation for the Atlantic Hurricane Season that officially begins on June 1.

Mrs. Pratt said the intention is to assist in meeting needs that arise from emergencies caused by hurricanes and storms when electricity to households and business are disrupted.

This was the case last year when Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne severely battered parts of The Bahamas.

Residents will also be allowed to import solar panels duty free as a means of encouraging the use of alternative sources of energy.

Considering the number of serious traffic accidents that have happened over the years involving motorcycles and bicycles, the duty on protective headgear will also be eliminated in the new fiscal year. Currently a 35 percent duty is attached on these imports.

Additionally, commercial printing companies will soon be able to pay less when they bring in certain types of printing paper. Duty is being reduced from 35 percent to 15 percent.

Teachers who are importing visual teaching aids will now be able to bring them in duty free instead of paying the present rate of 35 percent.

But Mrs. Pratt also disclosed that the government intends to increase air navigational fees for the Family Islands as a means of defraying the cost of crucial airport upgrades in airports around the country.

She did not reveal precisely what the increases will entail.

The government also intends to implement passenger facility fees at major airports as part of the cost recovery exercise. The fee had also been foreshadowed in the last budget communication.

Some colleagues of Acting Prime Minister classified the fiscal plans, projections and policies as a "good news budget."

At one point during the communication, House Speaker Oswald Ingraham scolded some visitors in the gallery who were applauding loudly when Mrs. Pratt declared that there would be fiscal prudence and economic progress in the 2005/2006 budget year.

Mrs. Pratt said she dealt only with matters of strategic national importance and various cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries will go into detail in their contributions to the budget debate.

By: Tameka Lundy, The Bahama Journal

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