Bahamas Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced yesterday that Grand Bahama, Abaco and the Abaco Cays will become tax free zones, to aid in Hurricane Dorian restoration and recovery efforts.

Minnis led a delegation to Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, where he held a town hall meeting and addressed resident on the island.

He also held a town hall in Guana Cay and will return to the Abacos on Friday to address residents in Man-O-War Cay and Elbow Cay on the progress of reconstruction efforts.

The prime minister however did not note when the tax-free zone will take effect.

The new VAT relief policy means that individuals and businesses will be exempt from the payment of VAT on a range of items, including unprepared food of all types, water, fruit and vegetable juice, clothes, shoes, hats, belts, stockings, gloves, scarves, cleaning supplies, beds and bedding material, hardware supplies building materials, landscaping supplies, pest control supplies, electrical fixtures and materials, electrical generators, farming equipment and supplies, fishing equipment and supplies, manufacturing equipment, cots, protective and safety gear, household furniture, furnishings and appliances, solar panels, mosquito netting, plumbing fixtures and materials, office supplies and equipment, tents, air-conditioning units and other equipment.

VAT on fuel for generators in areas still without electricity will also be VAT-free.

Minnis also announced the government’s plan to establish The Bahamas National Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund. Provisions for the establishment of the fund is included in the Disaster Reconstruction Authority Bill, 2019, tabled on Tuesday.

Minnis said he has made a commitment to return to the Abaco Cays and Grand Bahama every month, to ensure that the storm-ravaged areas are progressing and things are being rebuilt and reconstructed.

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