Minister commits to removing constraints to investments

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Investment Minister Asot Michael

Tourism Minister Asot Michael has told the start of a major investment conference here that the government will remove constraints in order to attract significant levels of foreign investment.

He told participants of the Invest Caribbean Conference that the government intends to review the investment incentive regime to attract more service oriented businesses, in line with the country’s developmental agenda

“Consideration must also be given to encoding relevant incentives into the investment framework that will attract services investments,” Michael who is also investment minister said

He also intends to improve the ease of doing since it is “a reflection of our overall investment climate.”

Among measures already taken is repeal of the legislation Section 34A of the Customs Control and Management Act. This eliminated 7 the need for importers to produce Certificate of Good Standing (Tax Compliance Certificate) for clearing goods.

In addition, the ASCYCUDA World Manifest eModule was launched. This permits electronic filing of ship manifests pre-arrival of vessels.

The Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office moved to full automation and electronic processing for companies registration as of January of 2016 after an amendment to the Electronic Transaction Act was completed in July of 2015, according to the minister.

It has also become easier to do searches at the land registry with the launch of an online platform.

Safeguarding the Integrity and sustainability of the Citizenship by Investment Programe (CIP) is another key plank for the administration’s investment.

Michael believes, given unprecedented global economic and political instability, it seems likely demand for passports among the global elite will remain strong for years to come.

Speaking to the due diligence process, Michael said, the reason that scrutiny is so intense and investigation so penetrative “is precisely because we place the utmost value on our citizenship and passport.”

“To get them, applicants must earn them, merit them, and be worthy of them. That is the ultimate criteria, and one that we enforce strictly, carefully and rigorously. At the same time, once citizenship and a passport have been granted on the basis of such demanding tests, and after substantial financial contributions to our economy, it is right, just and proper that the recipients be treated with recognition, respect and regard. The bargain works both ways. As Minister responsible for Investment I am convinced of the utility of the Citizenship by Investment Programme and publicly declare my support.”

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