ROSEAU, Dominica, Aug. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Multinational professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) carried out an assessment of the Commonwealth of Dominica's Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme between the fiscal years of 2013/2014 and 2018/2019, and published their findings in a new report issued on Monday. PwC experts from London visited the island in July and were impressed with the tangible benefits of the CBI Programme.
PwC directly observed the projects sponsored by the CBI Programme and concluded that the expenditure was made wisely and "generated tangible impacts on almost every aspect of life in Dominica." These encompass post-disaster rehabilitation, public housing, tourism, employment, commerce and microbusiness, energy security, roads and transport, education, culture and healthcare.
Furthermore, PwC appreciated the long-term investment the government made in its feat to become "the world's first climate resilient nation," as pledged by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit after Hurricane Maria struck Dominica in 2017. The British specialists expressed confidence in the feasibility and sustainability of the CBI expenditure, concluding that the economic contributions of Dominica's CBI Programme "provide a strong base from which to develop a prosperous and vibrant economy."
The PwC analysis gives a detailed first-hand account of how the Dominican government used the CBI funds to:
- build thousands of new climate resilient homes through the Housing Revolution;
- repair 15 sections of damaged roads;
- restore 19 bridges and river walls;
- dredge rivers in 11 locations to prevent flooding;
- invest in water sources and sanitation;
- repair three hospitals and six health centres;
- provide critical medical treatment abroad for 16 children;
- rehabilitated 15 schools;
- help 3,896 Dominicans obtain work placements, of which two thirds were assigned to community projects;
- sponsor over 4,500 business owners;
- support 32 agricultural and fisheries projects, which saw a boost to employment through targeted training programmes;
- repair one of Dominica's regional airport sustainably, according to the Build Back Better principle;
- raise funds for the construction of a new international airport to set the foundation for a competitive tourism sector;
- build a 7MW geothermal plant to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, prevent power outages and decrease electricity costs;
- create over 1,000 jobs during the construction phase of the CBI-approved hotels and resorts; and over 900 permanent jobs upon full completion;
- create and develop a competitive ecotourism sector through CBI real estate, which PwC estimates to bring EC$87.5-142.1 million in tourist spending annually at an average 61% occupancy capacity rate.
- boost Dominica's hotel room stock by at least 628 new rooms before 2022;
- increase spending to EC$406 per night for every tourist seeking high-end accommodation;
- other public and private initiatives aimed at disaster recovery, risk reduction, public housing development, infrastructure modernisation, commerce/micro-business support, employment growth, cultural development, and more.
Dominica lost 226% of its GDP in damages cause by Hurricane Maria in 2017, preceded by a severe drought and Storm Erika. PwC notes that "the reserves built by the CBIP [Citizenship by Investment Programme] were instrumental in kick-starting the recovery efforts" within weeks and months after Maria made landfall. "The rapid response afforded by the CBIP allowed Dominica to return to positive economic growth more quickly than anticipated and much quicker than neighbouring countries affected by Maria," the report found. Post-Maria, Dominica's international partners mobilised to support the island by doubling its aid, while more than three quarters of Dominica's recovery spending came from CBI reserves.
PwC noted an improvement of over 1,000% in foreign direct investment through the CBI Programme over the assessed period. While contributions to the Economic Diversification Fund remain the main driver of CBI income, interest in Dominican real estate has been growing fast, accounting for almost a quarter of CBI receipts in 2018 alone. Were it not for the tripling of CBI applications in 2016 and the continued growth afterwards, Dominica would have not been able to recover as fast and as sustainably as it did after Hurricane Maria.
"Dominica's recovery after Maria was nothing short of miraculous," comments Paul Singh, Director of CS Global Partners – the London-headquartered legal advisory mandated to promote Dominica's CBI Programme since 2014. International media echoed this sentiment after visiting the island this year: "It is hard to believe that little more than a year ago, all this was devastation," commented The Telegraph in March.
2019 was a remarkable year for Dominica's global reputation, with the international community expressing confidence that the island is progressing in the right direction towards climate resilience and sustainable economic growth. Leading tax advisors Ernst & Young, Smith and Williamson and Queen's Counsel Balraj Bhatia reassured the global community of Dominica's CBI Programme integrity, while the European Council announced in June that Dominica is tax compliant. Notably, on Tuesday, the reputable Financial Times' PWM publication announced that, for the third consecutive year, Dominica offers the best citizenship by investment programme in the world, in their annual CBI Index report.
PwC concludes that, thanks to the CBI Programme, along with the transparent and calculated management of CBI funds, Dominica is confidently moving from an agrarian economy to a service-based one in an effort to provide a more sustainable framework for the country's economy to develop and improve the standards of living for Dominicans across the island.
SOURCE The Government of Dominica