Crop Over tax relief coming
Bandleaders and other major players in the annual Crop Over festival can look forward to significant tax incentives and exemptions from next year.
Addressing the Crop Over Awards Ceremony last night Culture Minister Stephen Lashley announced that the Cultural Industries Development Act will be officially proclaimed this year, making way for the changes.
He noted that under Section 21 of the Act, which has already been approved by Parliament, “a cultural entrepreneur, a cultural practitioner or a governmental entity of an approved cultural project” will be exempt from paying import duties, stamp duties, as well as value added tax on equipment, non-capital supplies necessary for preparing for national festivals, building materials purchased locally and other capital assets.
The new legislation also makes provision for the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) to become, “a one-stop shop for the issuance of related licences”, as well as “an allocation for the creation of economic zones vested in the NCF for the period of the Festival and which will be governed by special rules”.
Lashley told the large audience that included several artistes, bandleaders and officials that the changes would “allow the festival to grow even more, and to provide opportunities for even more extensive economic activity”.
Some 130 awards were handed out last night to a variety of contributors to the 40th Crop Over festival, ranging from the Pic-O-De-Crop monarch Ian Webster, to Sanitation Service Authority workers, who NCF Chief Executive Cranston Browne said had provided excellent support cleaning up after each event.
“You are even more appreciative of their services once you have witnessed the transformations after these events,” Browne added.