Greater than $ 105 million in gross sales tax, customs duties and excise tax exemptions for islands devastated by Hurricane Dorian

BIS Photo / Yontalay Bowe

CITY OF HOPE, Abaco – Since Hurricane Dorian in 2019, the Special Economic Zone (SERZ) has granted more than $ 105 million in VAT, customs duties and excise tax breaks, Prime Minister and Treasury Secretary said. Dr. Hubert Minnis. The SERZ relief order was issued after Hurricane Dorian to provide tax breaks as part of the government’s comprehensive strategy to rebuild the devastated islands of Abaco, its Cays and Grand Bahama.

In addition to VAT, duty, and excise tax breaks, 4,475 companies in the SERZ have been waived more than $ 11 million in business license fees, and nearly $ 6 million has been paid out to small and medium-sized businesses by the Small Business Development Center Greatness, said Prime Minister Minnis.

BIS Photo / Yontalay Bowe

In September 2019, due to the unprecedented damage from Hurricane Dorian, the government also had to deviate from its budgetary targets to fund more than $ 138 million in direct assistance to affected families and businesses in the 2019/2020 budget year.

“While there is still much to be done here in Hope Town and across Abaco and Grand Bahama, we are making progress together,” said the prime minister, who spoke at the start-up of the Hope Town Shoreline Stabilization Project on Friday, February 5th.

In 1999, Hurricane Floyd caused severe damage to the edge of the Queen’s Highway and the nearby sand dune on Elbow Cay, resulting in the loss of beach sand in front of the dune.

BIS Photo / Yontalay Bowe

Various attempts were made to rebuild the dune, but in 2011 the dune was again badly damaged by Hurricane Irene and a subsequent tropical storm. “This series of events accelerated coastal erosion which ultimately damaged the roadside and resulted in sharp and dangerous waste,” said Prime Minister Minnis.

“In some sections, the traffic has been reduced to one lane width. Immediate action had to be taken to keep the road in a safe condition for motorists and pedestrians, and to stabilize the coast to mitigate further coastal erosion. “

The Ministry of Public Works developed a draft to repair the road and stabilize the existing dune and coast.

BIS Photo / Yontalay Bowe

A $ 3 million contract was signed with Bahamas Marine Construction for the work in August 2019, but Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the project.

The scope of work included the rehabilitation of 790 feet of carriageway, the construction of 850 feet of concrete retaining wall with steel railings and the backfilling and planting of dune vegetation.

“From tragedy to calamity, the project moved forward and the work was essentially completed in August 2020,” said the Prime Minister.

BIS Photo / Yontalay Bowe