The Hon. Khaalis Rolle, Minister of State for Investments in the Office of the Prime Minister, gave a presentation entitled – “Developing the Family Islands: A Focus on the Abacos” – at the Abaco Business Outlook 2014 on Sept. 24.
Minister Halkitis’ main question for the audience was: “Why is The Bahamas or Abaco attractive to investors?” His answer was that the leading incentive is the Hotel Encouragement Act, which allows certain items to have duty-free concessions for foreign and Bahamian investors. In the area of real estate sales, he said things look promising.
“The year 2013 saw an increase in real estate sales when more than 78 percent with the total figure exceeded $714 million – once again New Providence and Abaco led the way with 49 percent and 18 percent, respectively,” Minister Rolle revealed. “This positive change has continued in the new year, and 2014 looks promising with sales today exceeding $693 million.”
He said Baker’s Bay is leading the way for Abaco, and that it has been a success story in the Caribbean. During the global recession, he added that Baker’s Bay along with Albany in Nassau were heralded as two of the most successful developments, which were able to ride out the storm with very little impact to employment and pace of investment.
“Investments in that [Baker’s Bay] project totals $440 million, they currently employ 700 individuals, the contribution to the Treasury today is $46 million, and it is projected that Baker’s Bay will create up to $2 billion of investments over the life of this project.:
He continued with an update on the Abaco Club at Winding Bay where homeowners, development partners, government and Ritz Carlton representatives held a recent meeting to discuss how the development could live up to its full potential as they await final approvals. Minister Rolle said that the total projected expenditure costs are estimated at $348 million with $123 million for the development budget and $225 million in residential construction.
He expressed his optimism in Abaco’s economic future that is closely aligned with a statement made by Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie.
“The prime minister usually says that he believes that there is one decision that separates Abaco from being the leading economy in The Bahamas, and I think that decision will begin with the approval of the Abaco Club on Winding Bay given the partners that are involved and given some of the plans that they have not only for the Abaco Club on Winding Bay, but other opportunities that we discussed with them we believe that Abaco will be on its way,” Minister Rolle said.
“The business outlook for Abaco looks extremely good.”