By Makeida Antonio
Citizens reviewed a document that details the conditions of land use in Antigua and Barbuda under a New Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
The Abridged Order, the WEST IMPERIAL SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONE (Millennia-Montaigne Developments (Antigua) Limited) License Order, 2021 was issued in the exercise of the powers contained in Article 23, under -section (6) and (7) of the Economic Zone Law, 2015.
In the document signed by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, he granted a license to use the land specified in Annex 1 for the development of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) by MMDA.
“By virtue of the powers and authority conferred on me under Article 23, subsection (6) and (7) of the Special Economic Zone Act 2015, I hereby grant to Millennia-Montaigne Developments (Antigua) Limited (MMDA) license to establish a Special Economic Zone in the designated lands specified in Schedule I hereof.
Land allocated to WISEZ includes 245 acres in Jennings and 410 acres in Five Islands, for a total of 549 acres in Antigua and Barbuda. According to the land section of the licensing order, if a project approved by the WISEZ area management committee is outside the allocated area, a specific request for allocation / approval of such lands will be made to the Minister. The additional lands will then be considered part of WISEZ for all purposes of management, ownership and rights once approved by the Minister.
The license also states that WISEZ will be exempt from all taxes levied in Antigua and Barbuda, including corporation tax, personal income tax, import and export taxes. for personal and commercial activities, value added tax, sales tax, capital gains tax, sales and exploitation. and development taxes and duties and taxes on inheritance and gifts.
The Zone Management Committee will authorize the hiring of foreign labor. There are no visa restrictions that allow work permit applications up to 5 years to be approved within 14 days for Zone employees. This will be facilitated by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda where the employment of foreigners or non-residents, including supervisory, technical and advisory positions, in any field of activity within the zone, and facilitate the rapid processing of work permit applications for up to five years for employees in the zone within 14 days.
Any commercial and industrial entity is authorized to sell products, services and machinery on the domestic market. Sales in the Zone’s domestic market will be considered imports into Antigua and Barbuda. As a result, the Zone will have its own import and export customs, according to the document.
A specialized customs management service will be set up by the Zone Management Committee to ensure that the customs portal will operate independently and that a protocol will be put in place to simplify and speed up import and export procedures. . The Zone will implement streamlined and efficient customs import and export procedures, including customs clearance in accordance with the principles and standards of the World Customs Organization (WCO) at its customs gateway, including the platform. form of electronic data interchange (EDI). All customs procedures for importing and exporting within the Zone must be completed within three working days.
WISEZ is considered a Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) project and is authorized to act as a marketing representative for the CIP product. (ie for every $ 200,000 (0.2 million) invested) will be considered a ClP product. Applications in the zone for families of four will be processed (including processing fees and due diligence fees) at $ 45,000 for the whole family and transfer taxes and stamp duties will be waived.
This Special Economic Zone will be facilitated by the CEO of Western Imperial Capital Limited, Vijender Singh, and managed by Charit Mathur, Director of Western Capital Limited. Mathur told the media that this development is a separate undertaking from YIDA SEZ, as a memorandum of understanding was signed by Yida Zhang and Virjender Singh to establish the development about six months ago.
The approved operations include an international education center, an international health care zone, an international free trade zone for trade, manufacture and wholesale, an international financial services district, an international crypto services zone, an international center of entertainment and tourism and a residential area.