NEVIS EMERGING AS A ‘NEW HOT SPOT’ FOR INVESTORS
Nevis is a beautiful tropical island, 36 square miles in size, and located in the northern part of the Eastern Caribbean. It is well established as a financial centre, and an upscale tourist destination which attracts many visitors to its shore to enjoy the lovely beaches, sunshine, tranquility, and warm and friendly people.
It has a rich history which includes the birth place of Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary to the US Treasury, and the marriage of Lord Nelson, an English Admiral, to Nevisian Fanny Nisbett. It is the smaller of the twin-island Federation of St. Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis which is a sovereign democratic state having won its independence from Britain in 1983. The constitution is quite unique with Nevis being part of the Federal Government and Parliament while enjoying a high degree of autonomy to manage its internal affairs through its own Island Administration, and an Assembly that has the power to enact laws in specified areas.
Having performed exceptionally well economically despite the challenges of a sluggish global economy, the island is emerging as a ‘hot spot’ for investors who are seeking stability and competitive returns on investments. The federation has been one of the leading performers in the Caribbean in macroeconomic and fiscal performance generating growth of 5 % in 2015 and projecting growth of 3.5 % in 2016. At the end of 2015, the fiscal accounts remain in surplus, at an estimated 5 % of GDP and the debt to GDP ratio is expected to decline to 60% by 2017, well below the 2030 goal post established by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank for all of its member countries in the OECS.
“Nevis has been in this business for over 30 years and have developed a reputation for speed, efficiency and exceptional service.
There are many factors that have contributed to the islands economic recovery including low inflation, increase in public sector investments, increase in construction activity, growth in wholesale and retail sales and the ongoing recovery in tourism. However, the most important factor underlying our success is the promotion of one of the leading citizenship by investment programmes in the world which has become an important avenue for boosting growth, employment and economic diversification. The programme provides the opportunity for persons to become citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis by investing a minimum of US$400,000 in purchasing a condominium or villa in an approved real estate project or by making a contribution of at leastUS$250,000 into the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) which was established to assist some 1500 sugar workers who became unemployed as a result of the closure of the sugar industry in 2000.
With the huge interest being shown in the citizenship by investment programme in St.Kitts and Nevis, the island of Nevis continues to attract high net worth individuals to its shore. There are many factors which account for the high level of interest. We have a tropical climate; a physical infrastructure which is among the best in the Caribbean; a stable political environment; the fact that we are an English speaking Commonwealth country; the absence of personal income tax levied on citizens or residents; user friendly and stable laws; a generous fiscal incentives package for investments; advanced telecommunication facilities; a literacy rate of 98% along with a highly trainable work force; and a favourable time zone with easy access to North America and Europe. The island boasts a well-developed social and economic infrastructure and a relatively high standard of living for its people. This has resulted in the island being ranked among the top performers in respect of the United Nations Human Development Index which is a major achievement for a small island state.
With these attributes, one of the top priorities for the Nevis government is to continue its thrust in the development of the tourism sector and to remain at the forefront of the high-end luxury tourism market. There are many upscale luxury villas and condominiums available on the island for purchase under the economic citizenship programme. There are also several potential projects in the planning stage of development which will be placed on the market in the near future. The list of projects are included on the website of the Citizenship by Investment Unit based in St Kitts. In an effort to diversify the tourism industry, the island is seeking to attract investments in the areas of medical tourism and education. There is presently one offshore medical school on the island and there are plans to increase the number of schools by encouraging investments in natural medicine, natural sciences and research facilities.
Another area of high priority is the alternative energy sector which is an important part of the government’s strategy to become the greenest island in the Caribbean. There is already a wind farm on the island generating over 2 megawatts of electricity and emphasis is now being placed on promoting investments in solar and geothermal energy. Exploratory work has already been done on geothermal energy and preliminary results reveal that the island can produce over 400 megawatts of electricity with the potential to supply both islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, and to export to other islands in the region.
“There is a very generous package of fiscal incentives which have been developed to stimulate investments.”
The island also has a very active and progressive financial services sector. It offers financial services products such as International Business Companies, Foundations, Limited Liability companies, Captives and reinsurance companies, and international banking which can be used for wealth management, asset protection, and investment purposes. Nevis has been in this business for over 30 years and have developed a reputation for speed, efficiency and exceptional service. As a result of the high standard of products and services, the island was awarded “Best Offshore Financial Services Destination in the Caribbean for 2012 and 2013 respectively” by Global Banking &Finance Review.
There are over 60 service providers and professionals who can create various legal structures to cater to the needs of investors. The strategy is to attract reputable service providers who could provide value added services, management expertise, technology and marketing capability. Presently, there are seven commercial banks, one offshore bank and several non-bank financial institutions. In 2014, a new international banking ordinance was passed in the Assembly designed to attract reputable offshore banking institutions that could contribute to the development of the financial sector.
Agriculture and particularly agro processing is also extremely important as the government strives to position the island economy to ensure food security, health and wellness and self-sufficiency. Consequently, we are seeking to attract investment in the areas of pork production, root flower production using root crops such as cassava and sweet potato, broiler and poultry production and aquaculture.
There is a very generous package of fiscal incentives which have been developed to stimulate investments. Many hotels and other project of high investment values are given up to 15 years exemption from corporate income tax as well as duty free imports on building materials and equipment for construction and upkeep of facilities. The fiscal incentives act is geared to towards manufacturing enterprises and offer income tax holidays, export allowances and exemption from import duties on parts, raw materials and machinery based on the level of value added.
Nevis is open for business and looks forward to welcoming all investors who are seeking peace of mind, and political stability, in an environment that supports and encourages risk taking and business expansion.
For more information : www.nevisipa.org