Greater incentive to invest in redevelopment of urban areas


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 Senate on December 17.
The amendments will facilitate the exemption from stamp duty and transfer tax, land acquired for use by approved developers. It will also allow for an increase from 25 per cent to 33⅓ 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.
Minister of Justice and Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, who piloted the Bill, noted that the amendments will enhance the appeal of the designated blighted urban areas across Jamaica.
“This renewal of urban blighted areas, for a long time, has been the dream of successive Jamaican governments. Many Jamaicans can recall the days when downtown Kingston was the hub. Over the years some companies stayed the course and thrived and continue to contribute to the development of surrounding communities,” Senator Lightbourne said.
“But as we can see with downtown Kingston, others became frustrated with the vagaries of crime and have left the areas taking with them many job opportunities. So, the amendments to the Bill are considered an important step in reviving the urban areas that have been blighted, such as downtown Kingston,” she added.
In his remarks, Government Senator, Thomas Tavares-Finson, emphasised that the private sector has an important role to play in the redevelopment of blighted urban areas.
“Yes, the incentives are good and persons will no doubt take advantage of them; however, unless there is a will from the private sector…we’re going to have no progress in the area of urban renewal, and this Senate should acknowledge the role of private sector and Government in the renewal process,” Senator Tavares-Finson said.
Meanwhile, Opposition Senator, Mark Golding, said the Opposition supports the intention behind the legislation, adding that he is hoping that the amendments to the Act “will achieve its objectives.”

JIS Social