The scene in the House of Assembly as the Budget communication is delivered.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune News Editor
ALTHOUGH no new taxes will be introduced in the upcoming fiscal year, the Davis administration tabled bills in the House of Assembly yesterday that would increase fees for some services.
A Passenger Tax (Amendment) Bill was tabled to adjust passenger levies. As a result, people leaving The Bahamas “other than by sea” would have to pay a fee of $28, up from $15. Cruise ship passengers leaving from the harbour of Nassau, Freeport or Bimini would have to pay a $23 fee, up from $10.
Cruise ship passengers leaving the country from private islands who are not visiting any other port in The Bahamas would have to pay a $25 fee when the amendment is enacted.
Additionally, every cruise ship passenger arriving or leaving the country would have to pay a tourism environmental levy of $5. There is also a tourism enhancement levy of $2 for every passenger arriving or leaving the country.
According to the bill, the funds would be deposited to the Tourism Development Fund, which has not yet been established.
According to the draft estimates of revenue and expenditure, revenue from sea departure tax is projected to increase to $144m in the next fiscal year, up from $50m.
The Davis administration also tabled a bill yesterday to amend the Immigration Act. The bill would empower the minister to impose a levy on work permit fees that “may be used for the purpose of immigration enforcement, national health and wellness promotion programmes”.
Likewise, a Public Finance Management (Immigration Levy) (Special Fund) bill was tabled to establish a fund to deposit revenue from immigration levies. The financial secretary would be the fund administration. An advisory committee to the fund administrator would be established, consisting of permanent secretaries from the ministries of immigration, health and education.
Furthermore, the administration tabled a Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill to “enable a fee, greater than $1.00 per page, to be charged to a person, for the purpose of obtaining a motor vehicle licence history record.”
Under the bill, the principal act would be amended to introduce a new $50 fee to obtain a motor vehicle licence history record.