The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) has set itself a major task of attracting foreign direct investment totaling over EC$3.5 billion in the next five years, if they are re-elected to office.
Speaking at the official launch of the party’s 2016 election manifesto on Thursday at St. James Club, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony said investment will be sought in tourism, infrastructure, energy, ICT and other services.
“This will help to create the jobs that we need to reduce unemployment,” he explained.
But more importantly, the SLP wants to strengthen the investment targeting and attraction processes, to attract high quality investment which can also support economic and social development here.
In addition to this, the SLP plans to continue with its tax reforms strategy, both in respect of personal income tax and corporate tax. They plan on granting more tax relief to pensioners and increase the threshold for the payment of land and house tax from $200,000.00 to $300,000.00.
As a means of encouraging and stimulating growth and investment, the SLP plans to further reduce the corporate tax rate, and has promised that if re-elected, it will reduce the current rate from 30 percent to 28 percent.
“We were stymied in our efforts at tax reform because of the state of our economy over the past four years but now that our economy is better and stronger, we will pursue our tax reform agenda,” Dr. Anthony remarked.
Meanwhile, SLP candidate, Dr. Ernest Hilaire said his party is confident based on its assessment of the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), Saint Lucia can attract EC$3.5 billion in the next five years.
“That will substantially change the employment landscape and the business development landscape in Saint Lucia,” he stated.
Dr. Hilaire said in discussion with investors, there are a number of issues that are coming up, one of which is the speed with which investment proposals are considered and approved.
“In the manifesto, we have made a proposal to establish an investment delivery and support working group to increase the pace of investment, which brings together the key agencies and stakeholders,” he stated.
The SLP has also proposed to actively seek to increase the number of double taxation agreements and investment treaties to further enhance Saint Lucia’s attractiveness to foreign investors.