Clarke: Investors to benefit from amendments to Income Tax Relief Act
FINANCE MINISTER Dr Nigel Clarke has announced that potential local and international investors will soon benefit from planned amendments to the Income Tax Relief (Large-scale Projects and Pioneer Industries) Act of 2014, giving Jamaica the chance to reap more than US$1 billion.
Clarke made the announcement while addressing Tuesday’s opening day of the Invest Jamaica 2022 Business Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James.
The two-day conference is themed ‘Jamaica – The Nearshore Delivery Hub of the Caribbean’.
“We will be, hopefully by the end of this fiscal year, tabling in Parliament the amendments to the Large-scale Project and Pioneer Act to make it operational. This is an act that aims to attract investments of US$1 billion or more to Jamaica,” Clarke told the conference.
“Suffice it to say that that act will have some provisions in it that allow us to offer investors who are making that kind of commitment to Jamaica, over US$1 billion, with a minimum level of jobs created as well, and it will allow us to offer investors who are in that category certain benefits,” Clarke added, though refraining from giving more detail.
The Income Tax Relief Act was originally introduced to provide income tax relief in relation to projects and activities so designated and for connected matters. It was also intended to replace tax holidays with tax credits.
Last year, the Government had committed to pursuing amendments to the Income Tax Relief Act during this legislative year to create a more supportive environment for business and investment.
Amendments were also to be made to the Urban Renewal (Tax Relief) Act, the Financial Administration and Audit Act, and the Financial Services Commission Act.
However, of the four legislative measures, only the Urban Renewal (Tax Relief) Act was passed by Parliament.
Speaking further on Tuesday, Clarke said that the implementation of the Income Tax Relief Act will be transparent.
“The days when you would go to a minister and work out a deal and come out of the office with some big incentive, those days are over. This will be an act with the accompanying regulations that set out in advance what the criteria are, and anyone, Jamaican or Latin American, European, African, Asian, or North American, anyone who meets those criteria will benefit under this act,” said Clarke.
“After we have received the first billion-dollar investment, and then the second and the third, it is going to become a norm, and we won’t need to be going to the ‘$5-billion club’ after that. So if you have $1 billion to invest, get ready, as this act will be tabled very soon, hopefully by the end of this fiscal year, and we already have in the pipeline investors who are committing to that level.”
Tariq Alli, the Inter-American Development Bank’s Country Department Caribbean Group and country representative to Jamaica, told the conference that Jamaica is in a prime position to welcome investors.
“Jamaica is the place to do business, and I am happy to participate in this forum today to invite you to look at attractive investment opportunities that this country has to offer. We are ready to work with investors, to work with the Government, the private sector, and other stakeholders to take Jamaica’s economy to the next level,” said Alli.