Over-the-Hill Economic Zone to be Extended
By Lindsay Thompson
NASSAU, The Bahamas -- Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that the Economic Empowerment Zone component of the Over-The-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative, will be extended to benefit more residents.
He made the statement during his Communication to the 2020/2021 Budget Debate in the House of Assembly on Monday, June 22, 2020.
“Stakeholders are presently strategizing on how to enhance the economic empowerment strategies in the Over-the-Hill Community, to ensure that the objectives of reaching eligible businesses and entrepreneurs are achieved,” the Prime Minister said.
The zone will extend south past Wulff Road to Independence Highway; east to Claridge Road and north to Collins Wall. Also included will be Englerston and Montel Heights.
“The expansion will allow more businesses to avail themselves of the opportunities provided by the Government,” the Prime Minister said.
He regarded the economic empowerment component of the Over-The-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative as a strategy towards economic empowerment of residents in that community. And, towards this end, the Economic Empowerment Zone Act came into force.
To date, 90 applications were made under the Act. Of that, 50 have been approved. This has resulted in approximately $1.246 million in business license, customs duties and real property tax concessions being provided to these businesses.
To further aid in the economic empowerment of residents in the Over-the-Hill Community, the Small Business Development Centre organized two special groups of residents to participate in SME programmes, the Prime Minister said.
The first group resulted in a capital infusion of $48,000 and represented an injection of approximately 42 jobs to the labour market. Total sales for all participants was $2,301,014.
The second group resulted in the capital infusion of $65,250.74 and represented an injection of approximately 100 jobs to the labour market.
“Prior to COVID-19, preparations were being made and will now continue for a third group,” the Prime Minister said. “Additionally, the SBDC will carry-out current assessments on performance in the COVID-19 environment and continue its mentorship.”