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The Grand Bahama Port Authority President Ian Rolle yesterday expressed that the country needs to tackle making Freeport more attractive for foreign direct investment. 

Mr. Rolle added that in order to do this, a number of variables need to be addressed. 

He said, “one is the ease of doing business in The Bahamas. It must be addressed. We’ve been speaking about it for years, but now it’s time to take action. This affects Freeport directly as well.

“Then, you also have to look at countries or jurisdictions that are nearby, and ask what are they doing”, he added.

Mr. Rolle said that people have been saying for a while that Freeport has a lot of infrastructure and special concessions, yet they’re curious as to what’s happening economically. 

“When we look at nearby jurisdictions, where they have similar infrastructure – the roads, the lights, water, etc.; they also have 100 per cent exemptions from property taxes,  they have 100 per cent exemptions from income taxes, and 100 per cent exemptions from import duties.”, he said.

Mr. Rolle said that this initiative can improve with the government introducing a special H1D Visa.

He added, “in fact, I know of a jurisdiction that has a 100 per cent exemption from sales taxes or VAT. Then, they also have a five-year work residency visa that can be processed within five days with no quotas and no hassle,” he said. 

The Port Authority President of nine years said that the city was designed to accommodate some 250,000 people, but currently it is underpopulated by 200,000.

Overall, Mr. Rolle is optimistic about the growth of Grand Bahama. 

He was a guest of Love 97’s “On Point” talk show. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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