With Budget Day set for October 5, the Tobago Business Chamber is proposing several ways in which the Government can stimulate Tobagoâ€™s economy.
One such proposal is to make Tobago a VAT-free zone.
In a WhatsApp voice note on the Chamberâ€™s budget proposal, chairman Martin George said changing the islandâ€™s VAT-status is not a new proposal as the Chamber â€śfloatedâ€ť the idea before.
â€śWe are requesting that Tobago be made a totally VAT-free zone. It is not impossible. You have places like Panama, where they have within the country a declared duty-free zone. We think that will also help to stimulate greater investment in Tobago.â€ť
He said the initiative would be attractive to retirees searching for a lower standard of living.
The Chamber president also proposed the â€ścomplete and unconditional removalâ€ť of the Foreign Investment legislation.
He said the legislation has â€ścrippled and stiffed all forms of direct foreign investment into Tobago. We need to see that legislation totally repealed. It has been the greatest albatross around the neck of Tobago.â€ť
According to the Foreign Investment Act (FIA) 1990, foreign investors can own 100 per cent of a private company. However, they can only acquire 30 per cent of a public company unless they receive a license from the government.
For residential land greater than one acre and commercial land greater than five acres, they must obtain a license.
To further stimulate the economy, the Chamberâ€™s chairman also proposed a â€śmandatory local contractor input in all mega projectsâ€ť undertaken by the government.
He added: â€śWe donâ€™t want just 10 per cent labour input, we want sub-contractors. There must be at least 10 per cent of your local contract being for the local contractor, so they get a chance to learn the skills set.â€ť
The Chamber also wants the Government to begin construction on the mariner it proposed; faster processing and payment of COVID Relief Grants to employees and businesses in the accommodation sector.
By:Â Camille Mceachnie