The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) launched the Tax Incentive Programme for Urban Renewal (TIP) in Spanish Town at Emancipation Square on Wednesday, October 27. Introduced to Spanish Town during 2008, the programme was formally launched to increase awareness and to stimulate use in the development of Spanish Town and it’s environs.
Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Orette Bruce Golding referred to Spanish Town as a potential goldmine and economic powerhouse and indicated that the programme has great potential for success. He further stated that a public private sector partnership is required from the programme to achieve maximum success.
Also speaking at the event, General Manager of the UDC Joy Douglas said “Part of the strategy to stimulate interest in Spanish Town is to introduce the Tax Incentive Programme to the area. We hope through this launch to stimulate other companies to invest in Spanish Town”. She also indicated that a number of restoration and revitalisation efforts will be conducted throughout the town, so the climate is right for individuals to invest in Spanish Town and its environs.
Organizations such as GraceKennedy Limited, Guardsman Group, NEM Insurance Company Ltd and Courts are already involved in and benefiting from the programme. Speaking at the launch, Andrea Coy, General Manager, World Brand Services, GraceKennedy Limited said “In March 2010 GraceKennedy began its operations centre just off the Salt Pond Road at Bernard Lodge Estate. The construction of this state of the art distribution centre is one of the largest single investment undertaken by the company in recent times and it might not have been a reality without the support offered through the Tax Incentive Programme.” Miss Coy indicated that the TIP provided the breathing space to make a 28 million dollar investment and Grace is now in a position to locate all their warehouses under one roof.
The Tax Incentive Programme is managed by the UDC, on behalf of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and aims to garner the support of the private sector in arresting urban decay by encouraging the redevelopment of property in blighted areas. The programme accomplishes this by enabling persons who either own or lease property in areas defined as Special Development Areas (SDAs) to access incentives to redevelop the properties under the Urban Renewal (Tax Relief) Act which was established in 1995. A Special Development Area is one which is declared by the minister responsible for urban development for the purpose of urban renewal.
Under the Tax Incentive Programme, tax relief is offered to companies or individuals undertaking capital investments in either land or buildings. These can be residential or commercial holdings. Tax Incentives are offered to both owners and leshiresees of property in the SDAs. The four incentives offered are Urban Renewal Bonds, Investment Tax Credit, Tax Free Rental Income and Exemption from Transfer Tax.
The Tax Incentive Programme was first introduced in 1995 to downtown Kingston, extended to Port Royal in 1996 and Montego Bay in 2000. The TIP expired for downtown Kingston in 2005 and has now been renewed to 2015. The incentive period for Montego Bay has expired and the UDC is working towards having it extended. Additionally the boundaries for both Montego Bay and downtown Kingston and are set to be extended.