In delivering his Budget Address for 2017/2018, the Prime Minister of Dominica, Dr the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, reflected the dynamism and optimism of this thriving Caribbean island, noting that the fiscal year would open under the theme “Realising a modern prosperous Dominica,” and urging citizens to come together and participate on all levels in the transformation and growth of the country’s economy.
And Dr Skerrit did truly mean all citizens, including those who received citizenship through the country’s renowned Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme. “We are examining a plan to encourage some of our new citizens who do not reside in Dominica, to consider becoming tax resident here,” he said, signalling a strategy that would render Dominica even more inclusive than it currently is, encouraging these foreign-born citizens to create even stronger bonds with the Caribbean island. “[I]t would ensure that our engagement with our new citizens is deeper and more continuous,” underlined the Prime Minister.
The strategy also mirrors the win-win philosophy that is at the heart of the CBI Programme. To CBI citizens, it promises tax residence without prolonged physical presence requirements, as well as a much-coveted tax identification number that could be used internationally. To the nation of Dominica, it augurs a new source of revenue, as CBI citizens would be asked to pay a minimum amount of income tax every year. “It is likely that this new proposal, which must be designed carefully so as to maintain the integrity of our existing Programme, could yield more than the $34.0 million raised last year by all of our existing income taxes,” highlighted Dr Skerrit.
The Prime Minister, who could already boast a 2.8 percent economic growth for 2016, and a 3.1 percent Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) forecast for 2017 and 2018, said the Government was excited at the prospect of “graduat[ing] the CBI [Programme] to a new level,” and of realising a modern prosperous Dominica indeed.