Getting Started: Investment Proposal Guidelines

Please send us an email at - opmgbinfocentre@bahamas.gov.bs with the following information to get started:
NAME
Please give us the name of the applicant, whether corporate or personal. For a corporate entity, it could be a proposed or reserved name.
ADDRESS
Please include telephone and/or fax.
DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSAL
Please provide a comprehensive executive summary of the project.
PRINCIPALS
Please list all of the principals in the venture (major beneficial owners), along with
PROPOSED LOCATION
It is important to state where in The Bahamas the project will be located.
LAND REQUIREMENTS
If a request is being made for publicly owned land, please state the acreage and location. Applicants who wish to acquire privately held land must also apply for a permit to do so.
PROPOSED START-UP DATE
Please indicate the maximum time for the commencement, and if possible, completion of the project.
MANAGEMENT/PERSONNEL REQUIREMENTS
Please state the number of work permits that may be required for key personnel, for administration and financial management.
CAPITAL INVESTMENT
Please indicate the total capital investment to be made in the project, and provide a breakdown of the items involved and an estimate for start-up costs.
Note: Minimum capital investment of B$250,000 for foreign investors.
EMPLOYMENT PROJECTION
Please indicate the number of Bahamians to be employed in construction and/or operation of the project in the first year.
FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS
Please provide proof of financial capability, that is, a letter of credit from a financial institution or a net worth statement for each principal or verification of deposit of funds in a Bahamian bank.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Please indicate any possible harmful environmental effects and list the mitigating measures that would be employed to deal with them.
ECONOMIC IMPACT and BUSINESS PLAN
Please indicate potential benefit to the national economy, including NIB revenues, utilities, possible entrepreneurial spin-offs.
All information shall be held in the strictest confidence

Banking in The Bahamas

The Bahamas ranks as one of the top offshore jurisdictions in the world. All domestic and international banks and trust companies operating in The Bahamas are licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of the Bahamas. The Bahamas financial services industry, second only to tourism, accounts for approximately 20% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic products). Services offered include private and commercial banking, with personalized management of assets for high-net worth individuals; investments counselling and financial analysis; and stock trading.

Central Bank

The Central Bank of the Bahamas was established in June 1974 by an act of the Parliament of the Bahamas as successor to The Bahamas Monetary Authority. Its responsibilities include:
1. Safeguarding the value of the Bahamian dollar
2. Credit regulation , note issue;
3. Administration of banks and trust legislation
4. Compilation of Financial Statistics
Like most central banks it does not accept deposits from, nor make loans to the public, but acts as a banker to banks and to the government of the Bahamas.
Interest Rates
The average interest rates on deposits for 2015, were 0.82% for saving deposits and 0.99% (shorter maturity) to 1.58% (longer maturity) for fixed deposits. Average rates charged for consumer loans was 14.03%, 6.22% for residential mortgages and 7.87% for commercial mortgages.
Resident
Resident Status allows a bank or trust company to deal only in Bahamian Dollars; operations in foreign currencies require exchange control authorization. This does not apply to an authorized agent or authorized dealer that is a designated resident.
Non-Resident
A non-resident designation permits a bank and/or trust company to operate freely in foreign currencies. Exchange control approval is necessary to operate a Bahamian Dollar account to pay local expenses.
Exchange Control
In 1974 the Central Bank was appointed the Controller of Exchange. The Regulations would provide that all investments by non-Bahamians in the domestic economy be approved and the resultant currency flows recorded; that all Bahamian companies (except International Business Companies) in which non-Bahamians hold an interest be designated resident or non-resident, depending on where they will operate; that all settlements and trust be designated for Exchange Control purposes; that, in general, appropriate residential status for Individuals, firms, organizations, etc. vis-à-vis Exchange Control be conferred. They also provide for specific guidelines affecting residents who emigrate.
Foreign exchange transactions that fall outside the authority of the Authorized Dealers and Agents must be referred to the Central Bank, and can be dealt with either at the Exchange Control Counter by the completion and approval of forms, or through correspondence. These applications include loans, dividends, profits, capital repatriation, foreign currency accounts (Guidelines for Opening and Classifications of Accounts), Exchange Control designations, immigration facilities, issue and transfer of shares, travel, import and sundry payment facilities exceeding the Authorized Dealer limits, gift remittances, and investment currency transactions (e.g. purchase of real estate abroad, or purchase of share of a foreign entity).

Bahamas Development Bank

The Bahamas Development Bank, a wholly owned government institution, was established in 1974 by an Act of Parliament. It became operational on July 21, 1978. Its office was located in Rawson Square on Bay Street, across from the historic House of Parliament prior to its current location in Cable Beach.

Additional Entrepreneurial Empowerment Aids and Programs

The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) – The Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau (GBSBB)

The Grand Bahama Port Authority is a privately owned quasi-governmental organization with regulatory & municipal control of Freeport. The Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau (GBSBB) was created in 2009 as part of GBPA’s Business Development Department.
Its mission is to provide persons seeking to or currently operating a small business on Grand Bahama Island with a variety of resources to improve their prospects for successful, independent operation and to do so in conjunction with complimentary programs that exist in the community.
Since its inception, the GBSBB has launched numerous initiatives to assist small business start-ups including:
1. GBPA’s Shared Space Initiatives
2. Warehouse Storage Space
3. 50% off License Fee Discount
4. 1st Year’s License Fee Waiver – Bazaar
5. Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (in collaboration with Caribbean Export Development Agency).

BAHAMAS ENTREPRENEURIAL VENTURE FUND

The Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund Ltd. Also known as “the fund", was established by the Bahamas Government as the vehicle to manage and administer the Government funded Venture Capital Fund for small and medium size business developments throughout The Bahamas.
It seeks to assist the brightest and the best Bahamian Entrepreneurs who have great business ideas from a wide range of industries. Venture capital is money provided by professionals who invest and aid in the management of young, rapidly growing companies that have the potential to develop into significant economic contributors. Venture capital is an important source of equity for start-up companies. Professionally managed venture capital firms generally are private partnerships or closely-held companies funded by private and public funds, endowment funds, foundations, corporations, wealthy individuals or foreign investors.

FAQ

1. What is the National Economic Council (“NEC”)?
The National Economic Council, headed by The Prime Minister, is responsible for the executive management of the National Investment Policy and is the decision making body in respect of all commercial projects undertaken by foreign direct investors.
2. Who is the Director of Investments?
The Director of Investments is Mrs. Candia Dames.
3. How do I establish a business in The Bahamas?
An international investor seeking to do business in The Bahamas should submit to the Bahamas Investment Authority a Project Proposal, along with supporting documents.
4. Do you have Project Proposal Guidelines?
Yes. Please click the link below for more information
Bahamas Investment Authority
5. What are the investment areas targeted for Foreign Investors?
a) Touristic Resorts
b) Upscale Condominium, Timeshare and Second Home Development;
c) Marinas;
d) Information / Data Processing;
e) Assembly Industries;
f) High-tech services;
g) Ship registration, Repair and Other Ship Services
h) Light Manufacturing for Export;
i) Agro-Industries;
j) Food processing;
k) Mariculture
l) Banking and other Financial Services;
m) Captive Insurance;
n) Aircraft Services;
o) Pharmaceutical Manufacture;
p) Offshore Medical Centres;
q) Wholesale Distribution of any product produced locally
Please N.B.
Investors interested in areas not included in the list should contact the Bahamas Investment Authority;
Joint Ventures with Bahamian partners are encouraged, with the choice of partner being at the discretion of the investor;
6. Investments of less than $500,000.00 will not be considered. How many work permits would my business be entitled to?
Necessary work permits for key personnel will be granted. Businesses requiring permits for persons other than key personnel are encouraged to discuss these requests with The BIA in advance.
7. How can I become an International Owner of a Second Home?
Overseas Investors may acquire residential properties in The Bahamas of up to two acres without prior Government approval. Such acquisitions are required to be registered in accordance with the International Persons Landholding Act. Second Home Owners are eligible for a Home Owners Residence Card, renewable annually. Please N.B. This card will:
Facilitate entry into The Bahamas and entitle the owner, his spouse and minor children to enter and remain in The Bahamas for the duration of the validity of the card.
Application may be made to the Director of Immigration.
8. Am I eligible for Annual or Permanent Residence?
Accelerated consideration of application for Permanent Residence will be given to:
i) Major International Investors; and
ii) Fit and proper owners of residence valued at $1,500,000.00 or more.
9. Why should I invest in the Bahamas?
1. A politically stable environment conducive to private investment;
2. An atmosphere where investments are safe and the expropriation of investment capital is not a considered option;
3. A legal environment based on a long tradition of Parliamentary Democracy, the rule of constitutional and statue laws, and where security of life and personal property is guaranteed;
4. A stable macroeconomic environment bolstered by a prudent fiscal policy, a stable exchange rate, flexible exchange control rules and free trade;
5. An environment in which freedom from Capital Gains, Inheritance, Withholding, Profit Remittance, Corporate, Royalties, Sales, Personal Income, Dividends, Payroll and Interest Taxes are ensured;
6. Essential public service, an adequately equipped police constabulary, modern health and education facilities and other social services;
7. Dependable Public Utilities; and
8. Essential Public Infrastructure such as roads, ports and airports.
10. Does The Bahamas encourage Joint Ventures?
International Investors are encouraged to establish joint ventures with Bahamian partners. The choice of such Bahamian partners is in the absolute discretion of the investor.
11. What Areas are reserved for Bahamians?
1. Wholesale and Retail Operations;
2. Commission Agencies engaged in the import / export trade;
3. Real Estate and Domestic Property Management Agencies;
4. Domestic newspapers and magazine publications;
5. Domestic advertising and public relations firms;
6. Security Services;
7. Domestic distribution of building supplies;
8. Construction companies, except for special structures for which international expertise is required;
9. Personal cosmetic / beauty establishment;
10. Shallow-water scale – fish, crustacea; mollusks and sponge-fishing operations;
11. Auto and Appliance service operations;
12. Public Transportation inclusive of locally solicited charter boat tours;
13. Landscaping;
12. Are there any Investment Incentives?
Investment Incentives under the following Acts include exemption from the payment of customs duties on building materials, equipment and approved raw materials and real property taxes for periods up to twenty (20) years.
The Hotels Encouragement Act
Provides concessions for resort facilities throughout The Bahamas, including duty-free importation of building supplies and exemption from Real Property Tax for 10 years and a nominal tax for the ensuing 10 years.
The Industries Encouragement Act
Provides duty-free concessions for the importation of machinery, raw materials and building supplies for manufacturing entities in addition to exemption from Real Property Tax for a 15-year period.
The Export Manufacturing Industries Encouragement Act
Provides up to 20 years of exemptions from custom duties on building materials, equipment, approved raw materials and real property taxes.
The Bahamas Vacation Plan and Time –Sharing Act
Provides Duty-free concessions on building materials for the construction of timeshare facilities.
The Agricultural Manufacturing Act
Provides up to 20 years of exemptions from custom duties on building materials, equipment, approved raw materials and real property taxes.
The Spirits and Beer Manufacture Act
Investment incentives under these acts include exemption from the payment of customs duties on building materials, equipment and approved raw materials and real property taxes for periods up to 20 years.
The Bahamas Vacation Plan and TimeSharing Act
Provides duty-free concessions for building supplies for the construction of timeshare facilities.
The Free Trade Zones Act
Provides duty-free concessions for building supplies for the construction of timeshare facilities.
The Hawksbill Creek Agreement Act
Allows the Port Area that is the free trade zone of Freeport, freedom from all taxes until 2015 and from excise taxes, stamp duties and most customs duties until 2054.
The Tariff Act
Allows for custom duty exemption on specified raw materials, supplies and equipment for Agriculture, Floriculture, Horticulture, Fisheries, Forestry, Cottage and Light Industries, and Commercial Printing.
Please N.B.
- Custom duty exemptions do not apply to personal consumables;
- Investors may acquire publicly owned lands for approved developments on concessionary terms; and acquire low cost space for lease for industrial enterprises;
- Government will provide special training and retraining for Bahamian workers to ensure the continuing availability of a highly skilled labour force.