Investment incentives have been extensively used worldwide by governments and administrations to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The Government of Antigua and Barbuda is no exception, as successive administrations have relied on the granting of incentives to remain competitive in a globalised economy as well as boosting domestic investment.
With the expectation that both foreign and local investments, particularly in the Tourism sector, have the potential to transform the socio-economic fortunes of a country, there are many benefits to be derived in the form of technology transfer, skills upgrade, increased employment and economic growth.
In an effort to enhance the attractiveness of Antigua and Barbuda as an investment ready location, the Government in 2013, passed Sunset legislation which rolled out the country’s most generous suite of incentives under the Tourism & Business (Special Incentives) Act, 2013 (TBSIA). While this legislation was intended to be functional for a period of two (2) years, in 2016, the government approved an extension to facilitate the completion of a number of large projects which are currently under construction or in the pipeline.
Based on the provisions of the TBSIA, both local and foreign investors who are engaged in the construction or extension of a hotel, guest house, villa resort, condominium and upscale residential complex; or the reconstruction or renovation of the above are eligible for the following concessions:
• Exemption from the payment of Import Duty, Antigua & Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) and Revenue Recovery Charge (RRC) on all capital items to be utilized in the project
• Exemption from the payment of income tax for up to 25 years with the ability in respect of that period to carry forward losses for up to seven (7) years
• Exemption/reduction on the payment of withholding tax for up to 25 years
• Exemption/reduction on the payment of stamp duty on land transfers and non-citizen landholding licences.
The level of incentives granted to a project is determined by the level of capital to be invested under six (6) categories. The suite of incentives available under the TBSIA also applies to the following sectors: Manufacturing; Agriculture, Fisheries and Agri-business; ICT; Financial Services; Health & Wellness; Creative Industry and Energy.
The government’s Investment Promotion Agency, the Antigua & Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA) is charged with the responsibility of facilitating incentives under the Tourism and Business (Special Incentives) Act. Incentives are also available under the Investment Authority Act, 2006 and the Small Business Development Act, 2007.
In addition to the generous incentives available to investors, Antigua and Barbuda is a jurisdiction with an educated and skilled workforce; excellent sea and air links to major markets; robust ICT infrastructure; strong investor protection; and political stability. These combined with its natural beauty, makes Antigua and Barbuda a serious competitor for investment attraction. •