Faced with increased competition and a decline in applications for the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), the government has decided to reduce the cost of acquiring a CIP passport under the National Development Fund (NDF) investment option.
Speaking in Parliament today, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said in order for the country to remain competitive against other countries within and outside the region which offer similar programmes, the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) law will be amended. He said the purpose of the discounted prices was to help the country raise funds for re-development.
Browne said contributions to the NDF by persons desirous of holding an Antigua and Barbuda passport will be reduced to US$100,000 (down from US$200,000). He said the reduction to the NDF contribution is a 50 percent cut, which lasts for one year, following which a review would be done.
“This is being done in order to raise funds for the crisis we are faced with,” he told Parliament.
The real estate option of the programme remains at US $400,000, and the Business Investment option will continue at US$1.5 million.
A family of four will pay US$100,000, and they will also pay processing fees of $25,000. A family over five will have to pay US$100,000 plus processing fees of $15,000 for every additional person. Applicants are also required to pay a due diligence fee of US$15,000.
PM Browne said the Citizenship by Investment Unit would begin to accept applications almost immediately, but the new fee schedule has to first be taken to Parliament to give legal effect to the change of the CIP law.
The application process for the CIP takes between 60 to 90 days to be completed, because several processes have to first be done, including background checks on the applicants.
Browne said there has been a significant decline in the NDF programme, and within the past few months only three CIP applications have been received.
Browne said the government had to borrow money to pay salaries and added that it lost $22 million dollars in revenue for September. He predicted the losses will persist for several more months.
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And when the review is done after a year will the decision be to reduce the cost to $50,000? Working hard to win the race to the bottom, aren’t you?
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