ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA) chairman Dr McChesney Emanuel has affirmed that the Authority is in a state of readiness as it prepares to administer the tourism and business special incentives program.
Dr McChesney Emanuel
The chairman said the more lucrative incentives outlined in the recently passed Tourism and Business Special Incentives Act is a “step in the right direction”, as the nation competes for investment dollars in an increasingly competitive global market.
“We find ourselves having to incentivize business in order to keep pace in terms of growing our economy and creating jobs,” Emanuel said on local radio on Sunday.
He added, “I think it (the incentive Bill) is a very good start and very timely, given the decline in foreign direct investment on the domestic front that we have experienced in Antigua and Barbuda.”
The ABIA chairman also praised the government’s approach to doling out incentives to investors, both foreign and domestic; in that it attempts to turn around the nation’s sluggish economy.
“If we extended ourselves too much, obviously we could do more harm than good. I think this legislation on balance does exactly what Antigua needs to do. There are incentives in this package that I believe business people will find very, very attractive,” Emanuel stressed.
The chairman is confident the Authority is prepared for the influx of new business that is likely to flow from this Bill. He is equally confident that the dedicated ABIA staff will be able to process incentive applications in ten days, as dictated by the Act.
He added, “If Antigua and Barbuda wants to continue to compete for foreign direct investment we have to shorten the time and make sure we deliver.”
Emanuel also expects to see an increase in foreign direct investment for next year, saying the nation’s economy has “turned a corner”.
Once the new incentives are publicized, Emanuel believes the nation will see a “surge in interest” coming from foreign and domestic quarters.
The Tourism and Business Special Incentives Act was passed in the Lower House on December 19.
The Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA) is the statutory organization created by the government of Antigua and Barbuda to promote the nation, in order to attract domestic and foreign investment. The ABIA was established by the Investment Authority Act of 2006.