Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has said if re-elected the Free National Movement will provide housing construction concessions for all first-time Bahamian homeowners who are building an owner-occupied dwelling valued at $300,000 or less.
“This applies whether you intend to build on private land or on government land you received or purchased,” he said on Saturday at an FNM rally.
“There will be no customs duties on building materials. For all such home construction, there will also be no value added tax on building materials nor on the value of the construction contract.
“This will benefit many potential homeowners. This will help to create a construction boom.”
Dr Minnis also said accounting firms have completed the first review of applications for the Prospect Ridge Community, a community geared toward young professionals. The government received just over 1,500 applications for the project.
Dr Minnis said he is committed to introducing the programme to Eleuthera, Exuma, Abaco and Andros as well.
“Those who buy land in these developments will not have to pay customs duties on building materials, nor on furniture and appliances. Additionally, they will not have to pay real property tax for five years.
“We are also very advanced in the development of the Carmichael Village Subdivision. The development and subdivision will provide 365 lots for Bahamians to construct homes. These will be constructed under concessions provided by the government. The Ministry of Housing has already issued letters of intent to approximately 100 people. The majority of these new homeowners have since obtained commitments from financial institutions to construct their homes,” he said.
The FNM has maintained a brisk rally schedule since Dr Minnis announced the September 16 election. Saturday’s rally in New Providence came after the Prime Minister held events in Cat Island and San Salvador—areas long represented by Progressive Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis.
While in Cat Island, Dr Minnis told supporters he had been “reliably informed” his party won the advanced poll.
“And I know on Thursday we will take the rest – and Cat Island is ours,” he said.
Although the FNM’s rallies are supposed to be drive-in events, some people got out of their cars and crowded in front of the rally stage with minimal social distancing on Saturday. People also got out of their cars at the Family Island rallies.
Dr Minnis also said a second Minnis administration would enact a Home Porting Act to encourage cruise lines to make The Bahamas their home port.
“This will result in many more visitors coming to The Bahamas, a significant economic opportunity for you,” he said.
He also pledged to improve business for tourism operations in a variety of ways, though he did not say how he will accomplish this. “We will make it possible for visitors to arrange taxi and tour transportation directly with licensed Bahamian providers for both cruise and land-based visitors so that taxi and tour drivers can make much more money directly,” he said.
“We will make it easier for visitors to make restaurant, entertainment and heritage tourism reservations directly with licensed Bahamian companies for both cruise and land-based visitors.
“Many of these arrangements will allow Bahamian providers to receive their full payment for these services instead of having to pay big sums in commissions to non-Bahamian middlemen.
“We will make it easier for retail stores to sell resort wear, souvenirs and other goods by getting more hotel and cruise passengers to their stores.”