page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68
page 69
page 70
page 71
page 72
page 73
page 74
page 75
page 76
page 77
page 78
page 79
page 80
page 81
page 82
page 83
page 84
page 85
page 86
page 87
page 88
page 89
page 90
page 91
page 92
page 93
page 94
page 95
page 96
page 97
page 98
page 99
page 100
page 101
page 102
page 103
page 104
page 105
page 106
page 107
page 108
page 109
page 110
page 111
page 112
page 113
page 114
page 115
page 116
page 117
page 118
page 119
page 120
page 121
page 122
page 123
page 124
page 125
page 126
page 127
page 128
page 129
page 130
page 131
page 132
page 133
page 134
page 135
page 136
page 137
page 138
page 139
page 140

TheBahamasInvestor19ParadiseBahamas Investment Authority promotesjurisdiction for foreign direct investmentInterview with Viana Gardiner, acting director of investments at BIA, by Tosheena Robinson-BlairBARBARA CHRISTOFILIS/©DUPUCHfor many reasonsForeign direct investment(FDI) into TheBahamas has helped to accelerate economic growth,providing jobs and injecting capital. Efforts toattract an even greater flow of FDI to the islandnation are ongoing, with the government providingnumerous investment incentives.One of the first stops for potential foreigninvestors is the Bahamas Investment Authority(BIA). The BIA's primary function is to serve as theadministrative arm of the National EconomicCouncil (NEC)-a Cabinet sub-committee headedby Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. The councilevaluates proposals and decides which projects canproceed. The BIA implements the government'snational investment policy and helps to facilitatethose projects that receive the green light.Viana Gardiner, acting director of investmentsfor Joy Carey Jibrilu, has been heading the BIA formost of the last two years. Gardiner began herpublic service career in 1996, as an officerfacilitating and coordinating FDI. She has heldmany positions in the BIA and is the substantivedeputy director of investments.Gardiner, an attorney with a masters ininternational affairs, has coordinated investmentpromotion trips to the People's Republic of Chinaand Canada under the agency's tag line of "TheBahamas-A paradise for many reasons." She alsoserves as a member of the negotiating team for theaccession of The Bahamas into the World TradeOrganization (WTO). The following are excerptsfrom the interview:Q:What types of services do youprovide to foreign investors? A:We identify areas for investment where thegovernment is seeking to attract business and, inparticular, areas where the level of capitalinvestments that the investor hasavailable would be best served. Forexample, the government isparticularly interested in boutiqueresorts. We want small high-endhotels throughout the FamilyIslands. We may suggest to someonewith, for instance, $5 million that they may want todevelop a small bed and breakfast on one of theFamily Islands.Certain areas are targeted at overseas investors.These include condominiums and time shares,second-home developments, international businesscentres, marinas, information and data processing".the government is particularlyinterested in boutique resorts. We want small high-end hotelsthroughout the Family Islands."INVESTING

20The Bahamas Investorservices, agriculture, assembly services,high-tech services, ship repair, lightmanufacturing and other services.Q:What has been thegrowth rate in FDI overthe last five years? What isthe current level?A:The BIA relies on statistics from theCentral Bank. It is difficult to getaccurate data. Many people may start aninvestment, but not put all of what theysaid they would invest into the ground. In2005, for example our records reflected$2.2-billion worth of investment wasapproved, but we know we did not havethat amount of FDI. That year's figureprobably includes the approval of theBaha Mar [Cable Beach mega-resort]development. In 2006, the approved FDI figure was$3.8 billion. It jumped again in 2007 to$7.1 billion. But sometimes projects arerevised, so a project may be reflected inthe data twice. In 2008, given the global economicenvironment, we had a decline, with the[approved] figure that year being $1.2billion. In 2009, it dipped to $928million. However, in 2010, it was backon the rise at $1.2 billion. I suspect thatthis increase is going to continue. Thereis definitely an increased level of interestin doing business in this country.Q:Why do you think that is?A:During the recession, the governmenttook the decision to use its resources tocarry out infrastructural developments. Itinvested in the redevelopment of theLynden Pindling International Airportand the new straw market [in downtownNassau]. It started road improvementprojects and completed the dredging ofthe harbour. This improved ourattractiveness to potential investors. Westarted a new promotional campaignbased around these improvements.The Baha Mar project is anotherdraw. There are so many additional spin-offs that can come from having such ahuge development, as Atlantis hasshown. Once the resort is open,hopefully it will attract huge numbers ofnew visitors to The Bahamas. Q:How many projectproposals does theBIA receive annually?What's the turnaround time?A:In a low period we receive around100 proposals on an annual basis. Theturnaround time varies. For FamilyIsland projects we always consult thedistrict council. It is important to knowif the community wants the project.Sometimes we can turn around aproject within 45 days. Other times itmay take as long as two to threemonths, depending on the complexityof the project and the number ofagencies that may need to be consulted.If there's a straight forward matter thatdoesn't require any consultation, we canturn it around in 30 days.Q:Once the governmentreceives a proposal,what happens next?A:The BIA seeks to understand whatthe investor wants to do in The Bahamasand facilitates getting what they wantaccomplished. Proposals are forwarded tothe NEC for a decision. Once a decisionis made, the BIA's real job starts, whichis seeing those approved projects govertical. We coordinate with all of theother government agencies. We act as afilter, a liaison and a troubleshooter. Ourgoal at the end of the day is to seeprojects go vertical. When projectssucceed, Bahamians get employed. Theeconomy moves and grows.We not only serve as theadministrative arm of the NEC, butalso facilitate and help with theimplementation of investment projects.The government has a compendium ofinvestment incentives legislation and weadminister quite a bit of that legislation.Persons who are looking to develop ahotel or a hotel-related activity, forexample, can receive concessionsincluding customs duty exemptions orreal property tax exemptions for aparticular period of time under theHotels Encouragement Act. Similarly, we have a unit that dealswith encouraging industries and lightmanufacturing. Under the IndustriesEncouragement Act concessions includecustoms duty exemptions and realproperty tax exemptions. There is alsoThe City of Nassau Revitalization Act,which offers concessions.The BIA is the government's agencyto award available concessions. Weprocess the applications. We put out thepublic notices. We advise customs. Weconclude the agreements, which are legaldocuments between the government anddevelopers, as it relates to what they aregoing to do first and what they are goingto receive from the government inreturn. Administering concessionarylegislation is another big part of our job.The International Persons LandholdingAct generates a large portion of our work.It is pursuant to this piece of legislation"There is definitely an increased level ofinterest in doing business in this country."BARBARA CHRISTOFILIS/©DUPUCHINVESTING