NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS – The construction sector continues to be a dominant pillar of the Nevis economy, and the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) has revealed plans to further bolster the buoyant field.
Data provided by the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board showed that reported employment in the construction sector stood at 504 jobs as at December 31, 2022, representing 8.7 percent of total average employment for 2022. During the period January to December 2022, the Department of Physical Planning received a total of 384 development applications including construction and renovation of residential properties, commercial buildings, land clearing and land subdivision. Of the total submitted, 328 applications were approved with 170 applicants commencing construction work during the said period. As at December 31, 2022 there were a total of 184 active construction sites being monitored by the officers of the Department of Physical Planning.
“The above data signifies the importance of this sector to our economic development. In recognizing the construction sector as a critical pillar of the Nevis economy and its role in the socio-economic development of the Island, we commit to continuing to stimulate activities in this sector through a variety of programmes and initiatives,” Premier Hon. Mark Brantley said during his Budget Address in the Nevis Island Assembly on February 20, 2023.
“We commit to extending the duty-free concessions granted under the First Time Homeowners Program, extending concessions to those persons constructing commercial building spaces up to June 30, 2023, and reducing the Alien Landholding license fees to five percent on the purchase of land or existing buildings whether residential or commercial.”
Premier Brantley, who holds responsibility for Finance in the Nevis Island Administration, noted the significant economic boost the First Time Homeowners Concessions Programme as well as the Covid Stimulus Construction initiative provided to the construction sector. These policies have facilitated the fast tracking and conversion of approved plans into active construction sites, thereby creating employment.
He however announced that effective immediately all applicants for First Time Homeowners Concessions will be enrolled for an initial period of 24 months as it is expected that financing can be arranged and the construction of homes can be fully completed within that timeframe.
“A further assessment can be made at the end of this period to determine the need for any further extension of concessions but such extensions will be granted sparingly.”
The Covid Relief Construction stimulus programme, which was also introduced to boost employment in the construction sector through the renovation and remodeling of existing homes, will be phased out during this current year. Persons already enrolled in the program will be given a six-month period to June 30, 2023, to complete these renovation and remodeling works.
The stimulus programme, implemented in September 2020, has been extended at various intervals over the past two years in order to continue providing relief for residents undertaking any form of construction activity. Under the programme, building materials exceeding $30,000 are exempt from Customs Duty.