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'Virtual' Initiative Will Aid Over-The-Hill Project

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

A "virtual bonded warehouse" concept is being "fine tuned" to facilitate the importation of duty free goods under the Over-the-Hill Economic Empowerment Zone initiative, the project's lead executives have confirmed.

Kemie Jones, project manager, told Tribune Business: "We are still fine tuning exactly how this mechanism is going to work. Conceptually we are thinking that it may not be a physical warehouse but a virtual warehouse. The idea behind it is similar to what happens in Freeport - you have a warehouse with some items duty free and some items that are duty paid. Vendors can pull down on different inventory depending on who the person is and whether they qualify or not."

Mr Jones added: "Persons who live in the zone - upon application and approval if they meet certain criteria - then they would be able to participate and get the duty concessions when they import the items. The long-term strategy is that as we continue rolling out the programme in other areas you can have local vendors where you can go and purchase items from and get a credit there for the duty already paid. This is something NEMA would have done in the past and we are looking at the very same concept."

According to the Economic Empowerment Zone Bill, businesses in good standing within the zone, which encompasses Nassau Street to Poinciana Drive, Wulff Road, and upwards to the western area of Collins Avenue, would be given a certificate of trade and could receive a business licence fee waiver if they make less than $5m a year, customs duties waivers on the importation of commercial vehicles strictly for business usage and exemptions from excise taxes.

Property developers would be issued a certificate of development and would be exempt from real property taxes, excise taxes, stamp duties and customs duties on materials needed for construction of buildings and structures. The legislation also provides for stiff penalties such as persons being fined twice the value of exemptions given and jail time for fraud.

According to the legislation now passed, businesses behind on National Insurance Board contributions, business license fees and real property taxes will not be granted concessions through the Over-the-Hill revitalisation programme.

According to NIB data, there are over 2,000 registered businesses, with 33 percent being in the retail sector. Some 11,400 people are employed in this inner city area.

Comments

DDK 1 month, 1 week ago

This will be so complicated the PM'S "special criteria" merchants will have to hire rocket scientists to wade through it all.

Wonder why folks who have business set up in areas outside the "over-the-hill" area are not included? There must be thousands of other businesses that do not gross $5 million per annum.

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proudloudandfnm 1 month, 1 week ago

This is a bit much. Our government can't keep the electric on, can't manage a dump, can't manage water supply. Airports. Docks. Public transport. Etc....

Yet it can manage a virtual warehouse? Customs stay losing shit but they ga run a virtual warehouse.....

CAN YOU PLEASE STOP WASTING OUR MONEY?!?!?!?

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ohdrap4 1 month, 1 week ago

thsi will be wonderful, just use blockchain to track the duty free underwear.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 1 week ago

These guys are getting fleeced by the block chain bandit. He's probably proposing that blockchain will solve world peace.

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John 1 month, 1 week ago

The government claim they would use this module when VAT was introduced to quarantine goods that were already imported before the fact to be excluded from being charged VAT. But since this Economic Empowerment Project excludes 80 percent of the people it intends to help, it is doomed to.failure in its present form. When you go to feed hungry people or you go to rescue suffering people you don’t set criteria that excludes most of those that need to be fed or those that need to be rescued otherwise they would not need government assistance in the first place. Government, in its arrogance and ion ignorance most not make a bad situation worse.

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TheMadHatter 1 month, 1 week ago

I like the spirit of the law, but it is simply much too complicated.

You could better help Over-the-Hill people by setting up a very low cost teacher training program and getting some new blood into our schools. Also building new and expanding existing recreation facilities for after school programs.

Land for these pools and basketball courts etc could easily be obtained by a "Public Domain" order bulldozing down some of these big churches.

Our kids don't need to be in church all day & night Saturday and Sunday and Wednesday night. They need to be learning to weld and learning to fix aircraft engines etc.

Tell the tractor man when he finish dem shanty towns, get started on the churches.

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John 1 month, 1 week ago

One thing of great significance that must be considered when setting up any plans or programs to help the inner cities: These ares are transit points or watering stations for many and not their final destination. So when persons become down and low on their luck,they move into these areas and when they recover, financially, they move on. And most younger people move out once they complete school and get a good paying job. The main reason being safety. Because even if they stay and fix up the homestead they grew up in, they then become a target for robbers and others with ill intent. So don't for a minute assume everyone living in these areas are dumb or under educated.

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killemwitdakno 1 month ago

Why does this sound complicated?

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