Almost $300 million was raised in direct revenue and investment capital from the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) last year, according to Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
The figures were spelt out in the budget speech he presented in the parliament on Thursday.
“In 2017, the Citizenship by Investment Unit, processed a total of 321 applications, which should yield an estimated $64 million in direct revenue to the central government and capital injection of $198.7 million into hotels, residential developments and other business interests,” the PM reported.
Browne noted the challenges the programme encountered, particularly the loss of visa-free access to Canada which saw applications drop. In response, the government slashed processing fees, and according to the PM, the move has begun to pay off.
“We have witnessed an increase in the number of applications received by the Citizenship by Investment Unit in November and December, returning monthly submissions closer to preJune 2017 levels.
In 2018, we intend to optimize our favourability as a premier investment jurisdiction,” Browne said. Of the $169 million budgeted for non-tax revenue this year, $95 million represents receipts from the CIP’s National Development Fund, while $30 million represents surplus funds from the Citizenship by Investment Unit operating account, the PM said.
He stated that some 1,269 applications have been received and processed through the CIP’s three investment options from the inception of the programme to December 31, 2017.
Browne recently acknowledged that the programme was unlikely to return to the heights it reached in 2015, when his government was still relatively new and had adopted an aggressive marketing strategy.