by Linda Straker
- Creative Industries can become a pillar for economic diversification and export growth
- 100% concessions on CET and VAT for selected equipment for 12 months, started 1 March
- Customs (Duties Exemptions) Order, 2023 published in Gazette on 28 February 2023
Lennox Andrews, currently the Minister for the Creative Economy, is the person in Government who determines which individuals or companies will receive 100% waivers under the Customs Act for imported production equipment across various creative industry sectors.
In December 2022, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Dickon Mitchell announced the implementation of special fiscal incentives for the Creative Industry, including 100% concessions on CET and VAT for selected equipment for 12 months, starting 1 February 2023, later pushed to 1 March.
According to the Customs (Duties Exemptions) Order, 2023, published in a special extraordinary Gazette on 28 February 2023, the waiver will only apply to items as the Minister for Creative Economy sees fit.
“Every person engaged in a business activity that falls under the Creative Economy is hereby granted a waiver of 100% of customs duties on items of production equipment, provided that in respect of each person, the waiver must be – (a) approved by the Minister on such conditions pertaining to the ownership, use and disposal of the item as the Minister sees fit; and (b) admitted as such by the Comptroller of Customs, for the purposes of the business activity.”
The order also defines the creative economy as “those business sectors whose goods and services are based on intellectual property and include creative industries such as advertising, architecture, art, crafts, design, fashion, film, games and toys, music, publishing, research and development, software, television and radio, videogames, and visual and performing arts.”
Previously to receive a concession on items of a similar nature, the applicant had to write to the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the respective ministry, and there were guidelines as to what will receive a waiver. However, if, in the view of the PS, an item was not among the things listed for concession, this becomes a decision for the respective Minister, and a submission is sent to the Cabinet for approval.
While presenting the 2023 budget statement Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said that the Creative Industries is fast becoming a new engine of growth and development in several Caribbean nations. “This dynamic sector, which ranges from traditional arts to multimedia, has been an important driver of innovation and productivity growth,” he said.
He explained that studies have argued that the Creative Industries can become a pillar for economic diversification and export growth in the Caribbean, as this industry allows Governments to leverage the abundant talent and skill of Caribbean people and domestic capital to produce competitive products and services.
“In addition, the sector is comparatively labour intensive and can, therefore, help to alleviate the chronic unemployment problem in the Caribbean,” he said.