By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis will host a town meeting this evening when elements of his administration’s Economic Empowerment Zone Act will be explained, press secretary Anthony Newbold said yesterday.
Executive manager of the Over-the-Hill Unit Samita Ferguson will lead the presenters who will discuss matters relevant to the new law, such as tax concessions for property and business development, discounts on custom’s duty, and the online application form.
The meeting will be held at Wesley Church Hall on Baillou Hill Road and Meadow Street and will last from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. All residents are invited.
“Tomorrow (Wednesday) night should be an exciting one for the residents of Over-the-Hill, because there will be another town meeting at the Wesley Church Hall to address elements of the Economic Empowerment Zone Act,” Mr Newbold said at his weekly press briefing.
“Of course, the prime minister will be there, at a place he is quite comfortable (and) familiar with, to talk about what I call his most cherished initiative — the redevelopment of Over-the-Hill.
“The prime minister has spoken recently about the official groundbreaking at the Southern Recreation Grounds next week sometime, December 4 or 5,” Mr Newbold added. “The hiring of between 40 and 50 environmental monitors.”
Regarding tonight’s meeting, Mr Newbold noted everyone, but “especially” residents of the area are encouraged to attend.
He added that Mrs Ferguson will lead a team of presenters who “will talk about tax concessions for the development of property and for businesses under the economic Empowerment Zone Act”.
He also said: “(They will) talk about discounts on customs duties; exemptions on excise taxes; what happens with your business licence fee and who won’t have to pay it and for how long; same with stamp duty and real property tax.”
Representatives from the Ministries of Works and Finance, Department of Customs, National Insurance Board (NIB) and Department of Inland Revenue also will be there to help residents learn about the benefits of the new law.
“The process in applying for tax concessions in the Over-the-Hill area will be similar to the process that other people use to access any other concessions that’s offered by the government,” Mr Newbold said.
“The application process for accessing concessions…will be done mainly through an online platform. And because of that, the Digitising and Modernisation Unit from the Ministry of Finance are going to be there tomorrow night and they’re going to demonstrate hands on how this can be done.”
When asked what will be done to accommodate residents who don’t have regular access to computers, Mr Newbold suggested the use of Urban Renewal centres.
“The Urban Renewal areas will be used in this regard as well, to help with that. And in addition to that, when the people from the Ministry of Finance go over there tomorrow night, they’re going to explain how best people will be able to access and to begin with a lot of people probably would need some help.
“So an area like the Urban Renewal centre will probably need to be made available so there’s a general area where people can go and make these applications.”