National Investment Policy
Our Bahamas//investor information
The Investment Environment
To support an investment-friendly climate and foster the economic growth and development of The Bahamas, the Government will provide:
- A politically stable environment conducive to private investment.
- An atmosphere where investments are safe and the expropriation of investment capital is not considered.
- A legal environment based on a long tradition of parliamentary democracy, the rule of constitutional and statute laws and where security of life and personal property are guaranteed.
- A stable macroeconomic environment bolstered by a prudent fiscal policy, a stable exchange rate, flexible exchange control rules and free trade.
- An environment in which freedom from Capital Gains, Inheritance, Withholding, Profit Remittance, Corporate, Royalties, Sales, Personal Income, Dividends, Payroll and Interest taxes is ensured.
- Essential public services, a well equipped police constabulary, modern health and education facilities and other social services.
- Dependable public utilities.
- Essential public infrastructure, such as roads, ports and airports.
The Government is also committed to enhancing the image of The Bahamas as an international financial centre. To this end the Government will:
Maintain The Bahamas as a leading financial services centre.
- Monitor all developments in the international financial markets and amend any rules, regulations or legislation that would preserve and enhance the competitiveness of the financial services sector of the Bahamian economy.
- Ensure the operation of a clean financial centre with specific rules and regulations to prevent the laundering of criminally derived assets.
- Support The Central Bank of The Bahamas in its commitment to bank supervision and promoting high standards of conduct and sound banking practices.
- Support the self-regulatory measures of the Association of International Bank and Trust Companies (AIBT), particularly, the established code of conduct for bank and trust companies.
- Continue enforcement of our bank secrecy laws.
Investment incentives under the following Acts include exemption from the payment of customs duties* on building materials, equipment and approved raw materials and real property taxes for periods up to 30 years:
- Export Manufacturing Industries Encouragement Act
- Industries Encouragement Act
- Agricultural Manufacturers Act
- Tariff Act
- Hotels Encouragement Act
- Spirits and Beer Manufacturers Act
- Family Island Development Encouragement Act
- Free Trade Zone Act
*Customs duty exemptions do not apply to personal consumables
The following trade arrangements are also in effect:
- Cotonou Agreement
- Carribean Basin Initiative
Administration of Policy
The National Economic Council (NEC), headed by the Prime Minister, is responsible for executive management of the investment policy. Operational activities are the responsibility of the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA).
Establishing a Business in The Bahamas
An international investor seeking to do business in The Bahamas should submit to BIA a project proposal providing the information indicated in the following Project Proposal Guideline.
Project Proposal Guideline
- Name and address including telephone/fax.
- Executive summary of project.
- Type of Business – whether share company, partnership, individual or joint venture.
- Principals – investors, major beneficial shareholders, including their dates and places of birth, as well as passport or social security numbers.
- Proposed location.
- Land requirements.
- Start-up date.
- Employment projections – number of Bahamian and non Bahamian employees.
- Management/personnel requirement – years of experience, training and work permits* for key personnel.
- Financial arrangements for project, including bank reference.
- Environmental impact – toxic input.
- Total capital investment in project with a breakdown of items and start-up cost. Minimum investment is $500,000.
*Necessary work permits for key personnel will be granted. Businesses requiring permit for persons other than key personnel are encouraged to consult BIA in advance.
To ensure the maximum benefit to The Bahamas from the National Investment Policy, certain immigration provisions will apply:
Accelerated consideration of applications for permanent residence is now provided to purchases of homes valued at $1.5 million or more.
Access to Credit Facilities of the Bahamas Development Bank
The Bahamas Development Bank was created to assist Bahamians in establishing new businesses or expanding existing concerns through the provision of concessionary funding and technical assistance, for projects which generate jobs and which contribute to the economic growth and development of The Bahamas.
Areas Targeted For Overseas Investors
- Touristic resorts.
- Upscale condominium, timeshare and second home development.
- Information/data processing.
- Assembly industries.
- High-tech services.
- Ship registration, repair and other ship services.
- Light manufacturing for export.
- Food Processing.
- Banking and other financial services.
- Captive insurance.
- Aircraft services.
- Pharmaceutical manufacture.
- Offshore medical centres.
Areas Reserved For Bahamians
- Wholesale and Retail Operations*.
- Commission agencies engaged in the import/export/trade.
- Real estate and domestic property management agencies.
- Domestic newspapers and magazines.
- Domestic advertising and public relations firms.
- Security services.
- Distribution of building supplies.
- Construction companies, except for special structures for which international expertise is required.
- Cosmetic/beauty establishments.
- Shallow water scale-fish, crustacea, mollusc and sponge-fishing operations.
- Auto and appliance service operations.
- Public transportation.
*International investors may engage in the wholesale distribution of any product they produce locally.