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There is now greater incentive for companies to invest in the redevelopment and renewal of urban areas, with the passing of the Urban Renewal and Tax relief Amendment Act, by the House of Representatives on November 23.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw who piloted the Bill, said that investors had become “frustrated with the vagaries of crime and have left the area taking with them many jobs and many opportunities.”
“The amendments are considered a quantum leap towards reviving urban areas such as downtown, Kingston. This of course will include other areas, such as Spanish Town and Montego Bay, in terms of attracting investment to those blighted areas,” the Minister said.
He also pointed out that the legislation is driven by the need to transform urban areas, improve the standard of living of residents and revive the economy.
The amendment will allow for the exemption from stamp duty and transfer tax, the acquisition of land for use by approved developers. It will also allow for an increase from 25 per cent to 33 1/3 per cent tax credit of the capital expenditure, in respect of improvement works carried out in the special development area.
Provision is also made, with some exemptions, to ensure that entities benefiting from income tax relief under the Act will be disentitled from claiming similar benefits under other Acts.
In his remarks on the Bill, Member of Parliament for Central Kingston, Ronald Thwaites said he is in support of the measures laid out in the Act, emphasising that there is need for “this special focus on urban renewal”.
“I believe it would depress the crime situation if people had better opportunities for living. I applaud the initiative being taken by government, spearheaded by the Urban Development Corporation, in order to begin very experimentally, a process of redevelopment of certain premises in West Kingston and Central Kingston,” Mr. Thwaites said.