Bahamas. In February, the government signed an agreement
granting Oban Energies the right to build an oil refinery on
the island of Grand Bahama. The plant, once commissioned, is
estimated to employ about 600 people. Another good news in
the economic field was that in May the Bahamas was removed
from the EU's "black list" of so-called tax havens, that is,
countries that have facilitated business and private
individuals to avoid tax. After the Bahamas government
demonstrated its willingness to reform tax rules, the
country was removed from the list.
In June, riots broke out in the capital Nassau after the
government proposed a VAT increase from 7.5 to 12% in its
budget. According to
Countryaah.com, the Budget Bill also included a proposal on tax on
betting and lottery activities. The protests were organized
by a former senator, who is now employed by one of the
largest players in the betting industry. Before the vote in
Parliament, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis let the party whip
over the ruling party of the Free National Movement (FNM)
MPs. Nevertheless, several members of the party voted
against the proposal, which led to Minnis dismissing them.
Later in June, the proposal was approved in the Senate.