The Bahamas' government continually works to incentivize investment through legislation. Efforts to pass laws that best promote investment opportunities can lead to rapid changes in legislation, as in the recent enactment and subsequent repeal of the Grand Bahama (Port Area) Investment Incentives Act 2016 and Grand Bahama (Port Area) Investment Incentives Regulations, 2017. Other, more long-standing laws that promote investments have attracted international investors to The Bahamas for years.
For example, the Industries Encouragement Act promotes manufacturing and building by allowing manufacturing companies to import building supplies, raw materials, and machinery duty free. The duty free law applies for a company's first five years of operation, and afterward they pay reduced duties of ten percent (10%) on imported supplies and materials. These companies are also exempt from paying real property taxes for fifteen (15) years.
Similarly, the Tariff Act exempts several industries from paying duties on specific supplies, raw materials, and equipment. The industries include commercial printing, agriculture, fishing, and cottage industries. The Agricultural Manufactories Act, the Export Manufacturing Industries Encouragement Act, and the Spirits and Beer Manufacture Act also exempt particular industries from paying duties and real property taxes for up to twenty (20) years.
In addition, The Bahamas' Investment Authority and Investment Board oversee investors' activity and promote new investment opportunities generated by legislation. The Investment Board's duties are explained in the Investment Incentives Act, 1991. These duties include reviewing and approving applications for development. Developers whose applications are approved enjoy numerous tax and duty exemptions, listed in the Schedules to the Investment Incentives Act.
Other laws provide duty exemptions in specific geographical areas, such as the City of Nassau and some Family Islands, for limited periods of time. This legislation aims to promote revitalization through commercial and residential development. Certain areas of The Bahamas have been designated as free trade zones for commercial and industrial activity through the Free Trade Zones Act.
To find out more about investments in The Bahamas, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.