By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
The Government's proposed tax relief for clothing and shoe retailers was yesterday hailed for helping to preserve Bahamian businesses and jobs.
KP Turnquest, pictured, deputy prime minister, said the government had made provision in the 2018-2019 budget to "waive" import duties for retailers and importers of these products in a bid to improve the sector's competitiveness against online and foreign rivals.
"We are providing for the waiver of duty on clothing and shoe imports upon application by importers and retailers of same," he said in unveiling the 2018-2019 budget. "This will be extended to any merchant, large or small, who has a business license for the sale of clothes or shoes.
"We are, at the same time, putting in place procedures to ensure that the savings are passed on to consumers. This will be a benefit to all Bahamians, but particularly to those who do not have the means to travel abroad to shop for their clothes like others are sometimes able to do."
Robert Myers, the Organisation for Responsible Governance's (ORG) principal, said: "It's important that the clothing and apparel sector keeps the jobs in The Bahamas as opposed to Florida and online.
"It's sensible. Why do we want to support foreign retailers when we should be supporting and growing our own? It's a sensible move. I'm happy to see that for their sakes."
He was backed by Fred Albury, the Bahamas Motor Dealers Association's (BMDA) president, who said: "I'm glad to see they're trying to breathe a bit of life into the clothing and garment industry."