The Hon Finance Minister, Prime Minister, Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit considers Dominica’s Citizenship By Investment Programme an important source of non-tax revenue.
The programme is funding a significant number of projects and interventions for this new financial year hence a budget free of new taxes and heavy loans.
Although the programme has come under heavy criticism from the Opposition party, the DLP Administration has been the one to turn the pre-existing inherited programme into a viable revenue source.
Beginning with an established unit dedicated solely to running the programme, the Citizenship by Investment Programme was streamlined to identify two clear ways to invest- foreign direct investment for private sector projects and contributions to the Public Sector Investment Programme or capital projects.
These new measures have transformed the programme in such a way that in the financial year 2015/2016, $279.8m in revenue was realised.
For this financial year, $201.8m is projected.
The Hopn Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit stated, “In an age where development finance is dwindling and the process of gaining access to available financing is becoming more onerous, Governments the world over must find credible ways and means of raising financing for development programmes. The alternative would be to increase domestic taxes and or contract loans.
“Dominica is not the only country implementing a Citizenship by Investment Programme; and it is not the only developing country which has introduced such a programme. The United States of America, the world’s largest economy has its own programme. The United Kingdom, Malta, Cyprus and many other countries have programmes of their own.”
The results speak for themselves- they show that major development projects have been financed by the Economic Citizenship Programme.
He listed, “This includes the geothermal development project, the counterpart financing for Lots 1 and 2 Canefield to Melville Hall project and in more recent times, many of the post tropical storm Erika rehabilitation works, including the rehabilitation of Douglas Charles airport.”
As for security, Hon Skerrit made it clear the signatories to the CBI accounts. He listed the Financial Secretary, the Budget Controller, the Accountant General, and the Senior Examiner and Corporate Services Officer in the Citizenship by Investment Unit.
No one officer can undertake any transaction on his or her own.
He added, “This fiscal year Madam Speaker, it will be noted that the Government’s contribution to the capital budget will be financed with resources from the Citizenship by Investment Programme. This is deliberate, because increasingly, it is the intention of the Government to utilize the funds raised from the Citizenship by Investment Programme mainly for investment purposes, and to minimize the burden on the taxpayers and limit the incurring of additional debt.”
He listed investment projects which have been approved.
“I can report that construction of the Range Kempinski Dominica Resort, commenced in January 2016 and works are progressing satisfactorily. It is expected that the 160-room 5 star resort on Douglas Bay in Cabrits will be completed within 18 months.
“On Friday 18th December 2015, Government signed an agreement with Sunstone Inc. for the construction of the Tranquility Beach Resort Dominica. This resort will be constructed on 6.37 acres of land in Salisbury and is the brainchild of a Dominican developer. It will be a 73 room hotel with amenities including a spa, gym, restaurant, and conference facilities. It is expected that the facility will be managed by Curio – A Collection by Hilton.”
Pending projects were identified.
“While other projects are being assessed for consideration, the following, have been granted provisional approval under the CBIP and we expect to conclude negotiations within weeks:
1. Oriental Developers Caribbean Ltd. (Silver Beach) – (Picard, Portsmouth)
2. Bois Cotlette Estate Inc. - Soufriere
3. Montreal Management Company Est. – Bellevue Chopin (Housing
4. AyAy Holdings Caribbean Ltd. (Jungle Bay Villas) - Soufriere
5. Secret Bay Developments (Petite Bay, Portsmouth)
It is expected that construction and operational activities in the above-mentioned projects will result in a boom in the economy through trade, job creation, foreign direct investment and revenue generation for the State.”
The entire House of Parliament got details of the expenditure of CBI funds for the past financial year.
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