Highlights: Budget 2015

 

May 27, 2015 – Nassau, The Bahamas – Today, the Right Honourable Prime Minister Perry G. Christie tabled Budget 2015, the Government’s plan for building a Stronger Bahamas. Since 2012/2013, the fiscal deficit has been reduced by $342 million – a 63.5% reduction with a forecast growth of 3.5% in 2015 and 3.8% in 2016. By 2017, Government revenues are expected to increase by $500 million.

Budget 2015 outlines the plan to build a Stronger Bahamas by focusing on the following priorities:

  • Safer Bahamas: Improving safety through crime prevention and ensuring the Swift Justice System is working for all communities.
  • Prosperous Bahamas: Boosting economic opportunities by focusing on growing the economy, creating jobs, and promoting investment in The Bahamas.
  • Modern Bahamas: Modernizing our nation through improvements in education, healthcare, and other social programs.

The Government is doing this through targeted investment in public safety, economic development and social programmes, which will include:

  • Providing substantial real estate tax relief for pensioners and low to middle income home owners.
  • Investing $232 million in new vessels for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force
  • Increasing investments in public-private partnership projects (P3s) by $200 million
  • Dedicating $20 million to combat youth unemployment
  • Continuing to invest in major cultural events
  • Introducing a new phased National Health Insurance (NHI) system as of January 1, 2016, which will not require new taxes or fees at this time
  • Allocating $45 million towards public education
  • Contributing $20 million and 30 acres for construction of a new center for adults with developmental disabilities
  • Expanding the Fresh Start programme to the Family Islands and increasing the number of courses offered per year from 1 to 3
  • The Stamp duty on all real estate transactions is being reduced to a lower, single tax rate of 2.5%.
  • First-time homeowners who qualify will be exempt from the payment of VAT. In addition, a 10% discount for residential property owners who pay their taxes early each year is being introduced.
  • Reducing the maximum rate for business licence fees from 1.75% of turnover to 1.5%.
  • The maximum rate of duty on motor vehicles is being reduced from 85% to 65%.

In the coming months, the Government will undertake these initiatives in support of building a safer, prosperous and modern nation. Bahamians are encouraged to give their opinions by completing feedback forms through at www.strongerbahamas.com  or providing their feedback on the Stronger Bahamas social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp (242-433-1066).

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