Register a Domestic Private Company
A company is a legal person, separate from those who own or manage it. It is also known as a body corporate that is incorporated or continued under the Companies Act 1995, Section 543 (f).
What do I need to know when starting a Company?
Each person who intends to go into business must decide on the legal structure best suited to his or her needs. In choosing the best structure, you should consider your personality, the purpose of the enterprise, its intended size, management capability and statutory requirements for the several types of commercial enterprises there are.
What are the types of Companies that may be registered in Antigua and Barbuda?
· For Profit Company:
a. Private Company
b. Public Company
· Non-profit Companies
· External Companies
Investors establishing a domestic limited liability company must follow these steps. It is recommended to use an attorney-at-law for this process.
An Overview of the procedures involved in the incorporation of a Company in Antigua and Barbuda
1. Search and reserve Company name
2. Retain a lawyer to prepare the incorporation documents
3. Register with the Intellectual Property and Commerce Office and receive the Certificate of Incorporation
4. Apply for a taxpayer identification number (register the company for taxes)
5. Register for VAT and obtain an ABST identification number (simultaneously with previous procedure)
5. Register for Medical Benefits at the Medical Benefits Scheme
What is required for setting up a Company?
Any person, who is over eighteen years of age, is of sound mind and does not have the status of a bankrupt may apply for incorporation of a company. All companies incorporated in Antigua and Barbuda have the same basic elements:
· A company name
· At least one share, one shareholder and one director
· A registered office.
Anyone setting up a company will need to choose a name, followed by submitting the following requirements below:
· The constitutional documents of the company (Articles of Incorporation and By-laws)
· A statutory declaration by an Attorney-at-Law that section 4(3) has been complied with.
· Notice of directors
· Notice of registered office; and
· A Non-Citizen Landholding License either subject to conditions or not, for all or any of the following matters, that is to say-
(a) For a non-citizen to be a director of a company.
(b) For a non-citizen to vote at meetings of a company.
(c) For a non-citizen to hold shares or debentures, and
(d) for a non-citizen to be a member of a company having no share capital:
Provided that a licence shall be operative only as to the company named therein and as to the number of voters, shares, or debentures specified therein
The forms can be completed using our e-filing system or manually by using the forms found on our website. This will enable the Registrar to start reviewing your application as soon as you have entered the information. You will need to print the completed forms and obtain signatures before delivering them to the Registrar and paying the registration fees.
What do I need to know about choosing a Company name?
Before setting up a company, you should reserve its name in the Companies Register. A free search of existing company names can be performed on the Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office’s website. There are firm guidelines to follow when choosing and reserving a company name. Once you've reserved a name and it's been approved by our office, no other company can incorporate an identical or almost identical name. The cost to reserve a name can be found on ABIPCO’s website.
Register an External Company
An “External company" means any firm or other body of persons, whether incorporated or unincorporated, that is formed under the laws of a country other than Antigua and Barbuda; (Section 543 (f) The Companies Act 1995).
What are the requirements for External Companies when carrying on business?
An external company carries on business within Antigua and Barbuda according to Section 338, (a)(b)(c) of the Companies Act 1995:
the business of the company is regularly transacted from an office in Antigua
and Barbuda established or used for the purpose.
· if the company establishes or uses a share transfer or share registration office in Antigua and Barbuda.
· if the company owns, possesses or uses assets situated in Antigua and Barbuda for the purpose of carrying on or pursuing its business, if it obtains or seeks to obtain from those assets, directly or indirectly, profit or gain whether realised in Antigua and Barbuda or not.
What are the exceptions of an External Company?
An external company by an order of the Minister responsible for Legal Affairs can be exempted from registration. (Section 339 of the Companies Act.)
What are the prohibitions of an External Company?
No external company shall begin or carry-on business in Antigua and Barbuda until it is registered. (Section 340, (1) of the Companies Act 1995).
What are the requirements for registering an External Company?
Any company which is incorporated in another jurisdiction but intends to carry on business in Antigua must be registered as an external company (Section. 338, The Companies Act 1995).
The following are required for registering an External Company:
· A verified copy of the corporate instruments of the company (Memorandum and Articles of Association, Articles of Incorporation, Charter, or similar document, together with the certificate of incorporation)
· Form 22 (Application for registration)
· Form 23 (Power of Attorney in accordance with section 346)
· A statutory declaration by an Attorney-at-Law that section 344 has been complied with.
· A statutory declaration by a director of the company that verifies on behalf of the company the particulars set out in the statement
The following particulars should be accompanied within the mentioned corporate instruments listed above:
· the name of the company;
· the jurisdiction within which the company was incorporated,
· the date of its incorporation;
· the manner in which it was incorporated;
· the particulars of its corporate instruments;
· the period, if any, fixed by its corporate instruments for the duration of the company;
· the extent, if any, to which the liability of the shareholders or members of the company is limited;
· the business that the company will carry on in Antigua and Barbuda,
· the date on which the company intends to commence any of its business in Antigua and Barbuda;
· the authorised, subscribed and paid-up or stated capital of the company, and the shares that the company is authorised to issue and their nominal or par value, if any;
· the full address of the registered or head office of the company outside Antigua and Barbuda;
the full address of the principal office of
the company in Antigua and Barbuda; and (m) the full names, addresses and
occupations of the directors of the company.
Register an Unincorporated Business (also known as a Business Name)
A "business name" is the name or style under which any business is carried on, whether in partnership or otherwise. Registration of a business name is carried out by the Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office (ABIPCO).
What are some tips when choosing a business name?
Tips in choosing a business name include:
· Think about your brand identity and the goods and services you would like to provide. Please consider that you may wish to protect the intellectual property of the name that is chosen.
· Visit our website at: https://abipco.gov.ag to check if your business name is available via a search. If your chosen business name is already registered, your name selection will be denied, unless you obtain a written consent from the business name owner.
Avoid names that are too generic and too
descriptive of the products/services being offered.
· Avoid names that are relatively close to other business names that are already registered, having the same types of products or services you intend to offer.
· Avoid words affiliated with certain professions, national symbols, words that connote sexual/explicit nature, well known trademarks, geographical indications, landmarks, and the use of the name of the state.
· Avoid business names which could confuse your services with a Government agency/body. For example, that of the Royal Police Force, Treasury, Postal Services, Bank etc.
· Be sure not to confuse your business operation with that of a company. In Antigua and Barbuda, it is illegal to call a business name, a company. This then means that your business name must not contain the word “Corporation”, “Incorporated”, “Limited” or an abbreviation of one of these terms.
What are the requirements for effecting the registration of a ‘business name’?
The particulars required for Registration of persons and firms are as follows:
· Name of the Business.
· General Nature of Business.
· Principal Place of Business.
· Full Name, Address, Nationality and Occupation of each individual.
Where a company is to be registered as a
partner of a firm, the Name and Registered Office of the Company is required.
Where the firm, individual or corporation required to be registered, carries on business as a nominee or trustee, in addition to the particulars set out above the following additional particulars are required:
· The present Christian name, surname and any former name
· Nationality (If that nationality is not the nationality of origin, the nationality of origin) and
· The usual residence, or, as the case may be, the corporate name of every person or corporation on whose behalf the business is carried on.
Provided that if the business is carried on
under any trust and any of the beneficiaries are a class of children or other
persons, a description of the class shall be sufficient.
Where the firm, individual or corporation required to be registered, carries on business as general agent for any foreign firm, in addition to the particulars set out above the following additional particulars are required:
· The business name and address of the firm or person as agent for whom the business is carried on
· Provided that if the business is carried on as agent for three or more foreign firms it shall be sufficient to state the fact that the business is so carried on, specifying the countries in which such foreign firms carry on business.
The application must be submitted in the prescribed form and must be signed by all individuals seeking to be registered and in the case of a corporation, by a director or the Secretary.
Following the registration of your business name at ABIPCO, the business is required to register with the Inland Revenue Department and once operational, the entity must register its employees with the Social Security Board, Medical Benefits Scheme and the Board of Education.
|Relevant documents||Corporation Registration Fees Incorporating a Company Companies Act, 1995 Companies Regulations, 1997 Companies Amendment Act 2020 Companies Amendment Regulation 2020 The Madrid Protocol|
|Relevant institutions||Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office Inland Revenue Department Social Security Board Medical Benefits Scheme Board of Education|
The following documents must be submitted when registering a company:
Expedited procedures exist for registering a business, defined as a sole trader, partnership (firm), trustee or agent for a foreign firm. For this, the Business Names Registration Act, 1989 applies.
Registration is carried out by the Office of Intellectual Property and Commerce and usually takes seven days. The business is required to register with the Inland Revenue Department and once operational, the entity must register its employees with the Social Security Board, Medical Benefits Scheme and the Board of Education.
|Relevant documents||Steps for registering a business name Business Names Registration Act, 1989|
|Relevant institutions||Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office|
Special registration procedures are applicable to International Business Corporations (IBCs). The formation of an IBC is carried out by a licensed Corporate Management and Trust Service Provider (CMTSP). Thus individuals wishing to incorporate an IBC will first have to identify a CMTSP who will then initiate the process with the FSRC on behalf of the client. The client does not register the IBC directly with the FSRC. A list of the licensed CMTSPs is attached.
Antigua and Barbuda provides a range of incentives for investors. These are detailed below.
The Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA), established by the Investment Authority Act, 2006, promotes and facilitates investment to Antigua and Barbuda from local and foreign investors. Its responsibilities include the following:
The Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority may grant concessions as specified in the Amended Investment Authority Act 2019. The Amended Investment Authority Act 2019 and the updated Concessions Guide are attached.
|Relevant documents||Investment Authority (Amendment) Act No 15 of 2019 Guide to concessions|
|Relevant institutions||Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority|
The Small Business Development Act 2007 was passed to provide incentives in the form of concessions, technical assistance and credit guarantee to aid in the development of small businesses in Antigua and Barbuda. The following concessions are available to businesses registered as approved small businesses under the Small Business Development Act:
There are four types of investment which will qualify you for citizenship in the paradise islands of Antigua & Barbuda. As an applicant, you can choose between a contribution to the National Development Fund (NDF), to The University of the West Indies Fund, purchase property in a pre-approved real estate development, or invest in an approved business venture. As a candidate, you must be over 18 years of age, hold no criminal record and have excellent health.
The options are as follows:
CONTRIBUTION TO THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND The non-profit NDF was established to fund income-generating public sector projects, innovation in entrepreneurship and approved charitable investments. It is audited by an internationally recognized accounting firm and reports on its status are published each year.If this is your investment of choice, you are invited to contribute USD 100,000 to the NDF, which is a one-time contribution for a family of four. Processing fees will be applied as indicated below. For a single applicant, or a family of 4 or less: • USD 100,000 contribution Processing fees: USD 25,000 For a family of 5 or more: • USD 125,000 contribution Processing fees: USD 15,000 for each additional dependent over four people THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES (UWI) FUND This investment option serves as a mechanism to finance the new University of the West Indies Five Islands campus. This contribution will also entitle one member of the family to a one year scholarship, tuition only, at the University of the West Indies. For a family of 4 or more: • USD 150,000 contribution For a family up to 4: • Processing fees: USD 25,000 • Processing fees: USD 15,000 for each additional dependent INVESTMENT IN REAL ESTATE You and your family can obtain citizenship by purchasing a property in Antigua & Barbuda. You may also benefit from rental revenue with this investment. To qualify for citizenship under this option, you must invest in a designated, officially approved real estate development worth at least USD 400,000. Until 31st October, 2019, two (2) applications from related parties can make a joint investment, with each applicant investing a minimum ofUSD 200,000 in order to qualify. All processing and due diligence fees remain unchanged. You must own the property for a minimum of five years before selling it. Processing fees will be applied as indicated below. For a single applicant, or a family of 4 or less: • Processing fees: USD 50,000 For a family of 5 or more: • Processing fees: USD 15,000 for each additional dependant BUSINESS INVESTMENT The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) after consulting with the Antigua & Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA) approves businesses, whether existing or proposed, for the purposes of investment in business under the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP). There are two business investment options: • Invest at least USD 1,500,000 in a pre-approved business. • Alternatively, at least two applicants can propose to make a joint investment in an approved business with a total investment of at least USD 5,000,000. Each investor must contribute at least USD 400,000 to the joint investment. For a single applicant, or a family of 4 or less: • Processing fees: USD 50,000 For a family of 5 or more: • Processing fees: USD 15,000 for each additional dependant
CONTRIBUTION TO THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND
The non-profit NDF was established to fund income-generating public sector projects, innovation in entrepreneurship and approved charitable investments. It is audited by an internationally recognized accounting firm and reports on its status are published each year.If this is your investment of choice, you are invited to contribute USD 100,000 to the NDF, which is a one-time contribution for a family of four. Processing fees will be applied as indicated below.
For a single applicant, or a family of 4 or less:
• USD 100,000 contribution
Processing fees: USD 25,000
For a family of 5 or more:
• USD 125,000 contribution
Processing fees: USD 15,000 for each additional dependent over four people
THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES (UWI) FUND
This investment option serves as a mechanism to finance the new University of the West Indies Five Islands campus. This contribution will also entitle one member of the family to a one year scholarship, tuition only, at the University of the West Indies.
For a family of 4 or more:
• USD 150,000 contribution
For a family up to 4:
• Processing fees: USD 25,000
• Processing fees: USD 15,000 for each additional dependent
INVESTMENT IN REAL ESTATE
You and your family can obtain citizenship by purchasing a property in Antigua & Barbuda. You may also benefit from rental revenue with this investment. To qualify for citizenship under this option, you must invest in a designated, officially approved real estate development worth at least USD 400,000. Until 31st October, 2019, two (2) applications from related parties can make a joint investment, with each applicant investing a minimum ofUSD 200,000 in order to qualify. All processing and due diligence fees remain unchanged.
You must own the property for a minimum of five years before selling it.
Processing fees will be applied as indicated below.
For a single applicant, or a family of 4 or less:
• Processing fees: USD 50,000
For a family of 5 or more:
• Processing fees: USD 15,000 for each additional dependant
The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) after consulting with the Antigua & Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA) approves
businesses, whether existing or proposed, for the purposes of investment in business under the Citizenship by Investment
There are two business investment options:
• Invest at least USD 1,500,000 in a pre-approved business.
• Alternatively, at least two applicants can propose to make a joint investment in an approved business with a total investment of at least USD 5,000,000. Each investor must contribute at least USD 400,000 to the joint investment.
For a single applicant, or a family of 4 or less:
• Processing fees: USD 50,000
For a family of 5 or more:
• Processing fees: USD 15,000 for each additional dependant
Questions were also raised about consistency in the way fiscal incentives had been awarded in the past.
Antigua and Barbuda had an estimated population of 96,453 in 2019 of which 48 percent male and 52 percent female. The Labour force was estimated at 59,000 with an unemployment rate of about 10 percent.
|Relevant documents||2019 Population Estimate|
The education system in Antigua and Barbuda is fashioned off the British model with more recent modifications. It is governed by the provisions of the Education Act 2008 which makes it mandatory for students ages 5-16 to participate in the educational process. The sector comprises Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary, Technical Vocational and Tertiary Institutions. It comprises a mix of Government and Private Institutions.
The country has achieved the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of universal access to Primary and Secondary Education. Adult literacy is 99 percent.
Tertiary education is also provided, with the following institutions:
The Antigua State College offers associate degrees in the humanities, sciences, business and engineering. There is also a national scholarship system, which grants assistance to study in institutions in North America, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Cuba and China.
The Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality and Training Institute (ABHTI) offers associate degrees and certificates in several hospitality related fields including Resort Management Hospitality Management Food and Beverage Management Tourism Management Culinary Arts.
The Antigua and Barbuda International Institute of Technology provides training leading to associate degrees in a range of business and technology areas. It has developed collaborative relationships with Pace University, Skidmore and Monroe College.
The University of the West Indies Five Island Campus became operational in August 2019 and offers baccalaureate degrees in three Schools - Humanities and Education, Management, Science and Technology and Health and Behavioral Sciences.
For expatriates, the Island Academy offers the International Baccalaureate curriculum.
|Relevant documents||Antigua and Barbuda Education Act 2008|
|Relevant institutions||Antigua and Barbuda International Institute of Technology Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute Antigua State College University of the West Indies Open Campus University of the West Indies Five Islands Campus|
The institute trains around 110 students a year in hospitality management, culinary arts, resort management, and food and beverage management with the aim of supplying a qualified and personable workforce to the local hospitality industry.
Courses are offered either as an associate degree to be completed elsewhere in the region after two years on-site, or one-year certificates, and target both junior management level and entry level. The courses include internships at establishments on the island.
The institute has already attracted international students from the region. It is looking to expand and open a hotel on-site, with the aim of drawing students from across the Eastern Caribbean and CARICOM.
Terms and conditions of employment may be changed with the agreement of the employee. In certain sectors, or where employees have requested union representation, terms and conditions are set and modified through collective agreement.
Employment can include a probationary period of up to three months. Beyond the probationary period, the notice period of termination of contract is the length of time between pay days, and does not need to exceed 30 days.
The Labour Code allows termination of employment for:
Where termination is for economic reasons, severance pay of one day per month or major fraction thereof worked with that employer and any previous employer.
The Labour Commissioner ensures that the Labour Code is applied. This includes determining complaints of unfair dismissal. Should there be a disagreement between the employer and employee, either party can request intervention by the Labour Commissioner, who will try to settle the case amicably. If the Labour Commissioner doesn't succeed, the case is referred to the minister who may decide to refer the case to a hearing officer for a formal and biding decision.
The Labor Commissioner also settles disputes over labor abuses, health, and safety conditions. Workers have the right to report unsafe work environments without jeopardy to continued employment; inspectors then investigate such claims, and workers may leave such locations without jeopardy to their continued employment.
Please note the Amendment to the Labour Code in 2019 related to Fixed Term Contracts as attached below.
|Relevant documents||Antigua and Barbuda Labour Code Antigua and Barbuda Labour Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019|
|Relevant institutions||Labour Department|
The table below shows indicative monthly wages paid by foreign investors.
The Department of Labour prescribes a minimum wage of EC$ 8.20 an hour, however, reference employers pay significantly more.
The work week is up to six days with a maximum of 8 hours per day.
The work week is up to six days with a maximum of 8 hours per day.
|Senior manager||USD||3000-3500||2021||per month, plus benefits|
|Middle manager||USD||2000||2021||per month|
|Graduate entry||USD||1500||2021||per month|
|Skilled technician||USD||800-1000||2021||per month|
|Office assistant||USD||1000||2021||per month|
|Shop assistant||USD||550||2021||per month|
|Security guard||USD||600-1000||2021||per month|
|Unskilled labourer||USD||600||2021||per month|
|Relevant institutions||Labour Department|
|Annual sick leave (certificate to be produced after third consecutive day)||12 days|
|Annual vacation leave||12 days|
|Severance pay||1 day per month worked with that employer and pervious employers|
|Work during a public holiday||150 percent of wage|
Employers and in some cases employees are required to make contributions as described in the table below. Information on the different benefits is described below.
As described in the Get Started tab, businesses must register with each of these three schemes.
Further, within a week of employment starting, an employer is required to register their employee for each of the benefits.
|Social security authority||Employer contribution||Employee contribution|
|Social Security Board||8%||6 %|
|Medical Benefit Scheme||3.5 %||3.5 %|
|Board of Education (Chargeable income of $6,500 to $60,000)||None||2.5 %|
|Board of Education (Chargeable income of over $60,000)||None||5 %|
Sickness benefit is not paid for the first three days of the medical certificate or for Sundays. However, if sickness reoccurs within eight weeks of initial illness, the benefit will be paid from the first day. Sickness benefit is 60% of the insured individual’s average insurable weekly earnings. (i.e. three calendar months immediately before illness, divided by the number of weeks worked). Sickness is paid for a maximum of 39 weeks of continuous illness, provided that there is a second medical opinion after 26 weeks.
Maternity benefit is paid for a maximum of 13 weeks, commencing as early as 6 weeks before confinement or as late as the week of confinement. Maternity is 60% of the insure individual's average insurable weekly earnings. The average insurable earnings is calculated by totaling the earnings in the 52 weeks immediately preceding the 6 weeks period before the expected date of delivery.
Age Benefit is a benefit payable to an insured person who has reached the age of 60 years and has satisfied the required contribution conditions. Age Benefit is either a pension or a grant.Invalidity benefit
Invalidity benefit is a benefit payable to an insured individual who has not yet reached the age of retirement or not damaged on the job, but is unable to take part in any further employment becauseof illness that is likely to remain permanent. Invalidity benefit may be either a pension or a grant. Invalidity pension is a monthly payment, payable to an insured individual who has a paid a minimum of 156 weekly contributions or three years contributions.
Invalidity grant is a onetime payment payable to an insured person who does not satisfy any of the above conditions for a pension, but has paid at least 52 weeks or 12 months of contributions. An invalidity grant is EC$1,200 or 3/4 of the total contributions paid, whichever is greater.
The Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS) offers financial assistance and pharmaceutical supplies to qualified residents of Antigua and Barbuda. Beneficiaries are also entitled to refunds for services rendered through laboratory tests, x-rays, surgery, ultra sounds, electrocardiographs or similar services, hospitalization and drugs. The MBS also provides financial, managerial and medical supplies to the local hospital and health clinics.
There are two groups of beneficiaries:
Medical benefits are provided to two categories of beneficiaries:
All beneficiaries hospitalized for any disease and treated in the general ward of the hospital are entitled to free medical services, including medical and surgical care and services, drugs, X-rays, laboratory tests, and electro-cardiograms and similar services.
Persons not hospitalized
Persons in Group I are entitled to free X-rays, laboratory tests and electro-cardiograms conducted at the Holberton Hospital. Where this treatment is not available at the hospital, and the beneficiary obtains the treatment elsewhere as a result, the beneficiary is allowed to claim the costs incurred. However, if the beneficiary elects to receive the treatment from a third party provider instead of through the Hospital, the amount reimbursed is limited to the fees regularly charged at the Hospital.
The Board of Education provides additional support to Antigua and Barbuda's education system. In doing so it provides the following benefits:
Any employed or self-employed worker who is not a national of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), nor a resident (see below) requires a work permit to be employed or manage a business in Antigua and Barbuda.
Work permits are approved primarily by the Department of Labour.
In applying for a work permit, employers are required to demonstrate that having called for applications through the publication of a job vacancy, a suitable applicant could not be found locally.
In reviewing applications, the Department of Labour considers:
Once approved by the Department of Labour, the worker may travel to the country. If from a country not requiring a visa, the worker enters at the port of entry and obtains an entry stamp. If from a country requiring a visa, the worker applies online for a visa (address).
Once in the country, the employer brings the passport to the Department of Immigration, along with a written undertaking to pay the worker's return ticket, and the passport is endorsed with a work permit of up to a year. The permit is renewable on a yearly basis.
The spouse of a worker receives an extension of stay in the passport, linked to the work permit.
Children of a worker must obtain a letter of enrolment from an educational institution in Antigua and Barbuda. This qualifies them for a student permit.
A foreign national may apply for residency if:
A CARICOM national, who is not an OECS national does not require a work permit if they have a university education. In this case, they can obtain a CARICOM Skilled National Certificate from the Department of Labour, either before or after entering the country, although preferably before. This certificate does not have an expiry date.
Investors noted that the local workforce was generally well-qualified and highly proficient in English. For hotels it was noted that the training and quality of local staff had improved but that for the higher grades it was still necessary to bring in foreign personnel with greater experience and exposure.
Labour costs were noted as high compared to some competing islands.
The work permit process was noted as lengthy because of all the documents required for initial application and annual renewal, including the police record check, letter from the medical insurance and social security. However there were no reports of work permits not being renewed.
The Antigua Public Utilities Authority is the sole utility company in Antigua and Barbuda providing electricity. The Electricity Business Unit is responsible for transmission, distribution and generation. Electricity is generated by diesel and supplied by 115/230V Single phase and 120 to 480V Three Phase. Electricity supply is clean and generally reliable. The company is actively exploring alternative energy sources in its quest to supply lower cost electricity (see Renewable energy in the Growth sectors and opportunities tab).
Current installed capacity is 110 MW, with a total demand of 54 MW. However, distribution difficulties result in a lower effective capacity of 51 MW.
When applying for a new or temporary electricity service an application form must be completed, approved and stamped by the DCA before submitting it to APUA. Please note that four copies of the electricity form must be presented along with a valid photo ID, Certificate of incorporation, land title and a copy of a utility bill (if applicable)
|General Purpose||USD||0.16 per unit||2021||USD$5.52 minimum charge monthly|
|Domestic Tariff||USD||0.15 per unit||2021||Based on usage of less than 50 units per month.USD$3 minimum charge per month|
|Domestic Tariff 1 - 300 Kwh||USD||0.15 per unit||2021||Based on usage of more than 50 units per month. USD$9.20 minimum charge per month|
|Domesti Tariff 300+ Kwh||USD||0.14 per unit||2021||Based on usage of more than 50 units per month. USD$9.20 minimum charge per month|
|Commercial Tariff 1st Block||USD||0.16 per unit||2021||100KWH/KVA of Demand|
|Commercial Tariff 2nd Block||USD||0.15 per unit||2021||250 KWH/KVA of Demand|
|Commercial Tariff 3rd Block||USD||0.14 per unit||2021||All remaining KWH|
|Industrial Tariff 1st Block||USD||0.17 per unit||2021||100KWH/KVA of Demand|
|Industrial Tariff 2nd Block||USD||0.15 per unit||2021||250 KWH/KVA of Demand|
|Industrial Tariff 3rd Block||USD||0.13 per unit||2021||All remaining KWH|
The Antigua Public Utilities Authority provides potable water services to the nation of Antigua & Barbuda. It executes this mandate through its management of the islands surface and groundwater resources in addition to several desalination plants ideally located around the island.
Water service applications can be obtained and on completion returned to any of the Authority’s business offices. A site inspection by the Authority’s Planning Department follows and an estimate for the required work generated. Service installation follows on payment of the estimate. The duration of the application/installation process is largely dependent on the quality of information available. Paramount being poof of property ownership and project/development approval.
|Domestic Tariff (over 4,000 gallons per month)||USD||18.40||2021||per 1,000 gallons. Meter Rental - $0.37. Minimum Monthly charge $7.72.|
|Domestic Tariff (up to 4,000 gallons per month)||USD||7.72||2021||Per 1,000 gallons or part thereof|
|Commercial and Industrial Tariff||USD||18.40||2021||Per 1,000 gallons or part thereof|
|Agricultural Tariff||USD||9.20||2021||Per 1,000 gallons or part thereof.|
|Churches/Schools/Non-Proft Social Institutions (over 4,000 gallons)||USD||18.40||2021||Per 1,000 gallons or part thereof|
|Churches/Schools/Non-Proft Social Institutions (up to 4,000 gallons)||USD||7.72||2021||Per 1,000 gallons or part thereof|
|Relevant institutions||Antigua Public Utilities Authority|
Antigua presently has two undersea Fiber Optic Cables. Each cable system has bandwidth capacity in excess of 10 Gbps. The capacity capability on this network can support the entire Caribbean
The internet service providers in Antigua and Barbuda are the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) Inet, Digicel, Flow Communications and the Antigua Computer Technology Ltd (ACT).Telephone services are provided by APUA - Land line and mobile, Flow - Mobile, Digicel - Mobile
|Internet (1 Mb bandwith)||USD||115||2021||per month|
|Internet (5 Mb bandwith)||USD||391||2021||per month|
|Mobile phone (4G 10 Gb)||USD||63||2021||per month|
Antigua and Barbuda has one of the most modern international airports in the Caribbean. With a brand new terminal opened in August 2015 doubling the capacity of the previous terminal, the V.C. Bird International Airport is an important regional hub, and the largest gateway to the Eastern Caribbean.
The new terminal has 4 jet bridges, a modern baggage sorting and scanning system and efficient immigration processing times.
There are both direct and connecting flights to and from North America, Europe and the rest of the Caribbean.
Antigua's main international port for cargo is the commercial pier at Deepwater Harbour in St John's. It has a draught of 35 feet. Facilities including container handling services. Offloading and customs clearance usually takes place within the day. Customs uses the ASYCUDA system. The Harbour is presently being redeveloped to the tune of US$90 million with funding from China Exim Bank.
In addition to the commercial pier, Nevis Pier and Heritage Quay are designed to handle cruise traffic, receiving ships averaging 1,700 passengers. Construction of the 5th Cruise Ship Berthing Pier is slated to be completed in November 2020. The Construction of the Pier is a part of a lease arrangement between the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and Global Ports Holdings
|Relevant institutions||Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority|
Indicative costs for freight transport by sea are below.
|Freight from New Zealand||USD||7500||2021||40 foot container|
|Freight from Shanghai||USD||3900||2021||20 foot container|
|Freight from Shanghai||USD||5900||2021||40 foot container|
|Freight from Miami||USD||5000||2021||40 foot container|
|Freight from Brazil||USD||5600||2021||40 foot container|
|Freight from Italy||USD||5500||2021||40 foot container|
|Freight from UK||USD||3600-3800||2021||20 foot container|
|Freight from UK||USD||5200||2021||40 foot container|
For indicative purposes, a basket of goods and services that investors may face is included below.
|Coca Cola||USD||3.30||2021||2 litres|
|Local beer||USD||1.86||2021||0.5 litres|
|Imported beer||USD||3.70||2021||0.5 litres|
|Bottled Water||USD||1.21||2021||1.5 Litre|
|Whole chicken||USD||10||2021||1 kg|
|Minced beef||USD||5||2021||1 kg|
With regards to the port, it was felt that the equipment needed upgrading and the draught increased to allow bigger ships to berth. The port was felt to be under-staffed during busy periods.
The airport was seen as efficient and flight capacity as adequate.
Land is either owned by the Government or privately. In Antigua, the Government owns 55 percent of land in Antigua, with the remaining 45 percent private. In Barbuda, land ownership is prohibited. The Lands Division in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries is the custodian of crown lands on behalf of the Government.
|Relevant institutions||Land Registry|
An investor can lease or buy land from the government or the private sector. Land sold to non-citizens is subject to the Non-Citizen Land Holding Regulation Act that makes provisions for the buyer to obtain a license to purchase land (see Taxes tab). It is advised that the buyer consult with a local attorney.
Acquiring land from the Government through leasing or buying, either by citizens or non-citizens, is always conditional on approval of a proposed project by the line ministries and the Cabinet. This is because the Government has an unwritten policy of only divesting itself of land if it leads to the development of a specific project.
The Land Registry's involvement in the acquisition of government land occurs once the stamp duty (see Taxes tab) has been paid on the Instrument of Transfer and the Chief Surveyor has signed the certificate contained in the said instrument confirming that boundaries have been verified or authenticated. There is a EC$30 administration fee for the processing of an instrument of Transfer filed within three months of the date of signing, rising in EC$30 increments thereafter for each three month period to a maximum of EC$150.00.
The turn-around time for the registration for an instrument of transfer and the issuance of a Land Certificate varies between 5 to 10 working days.
Indicative land costs are displayed below.
|Warehouse||USD||30||2021||per square metre per month|
|Commercial building - Friars Hill Road||USD||24||2021||per square metre per month, includes parking|
|Commercial building - St. John's||USD||17||2021||per square metre per month|
|Villa - Jolly Harbour (South)||USD||800-3,6000||2021||per month|
|House - St. John's Area||USD||2,000-4,000||2021||per month|
|House - Falmouth/English Harbour Area||USD||1,500-2,500||2021||per month|
|Apartments - Jolly Harbour/Valley Church Area||USD||2,800-3,500||2021||per month|
|Townhouse/Apartments - Five Islands||USD||1,200-3,000||2021||per month|
|Villa - Jolly Harbour (North)||USD||650-29,000||2021||per week, short-term vacation let|
|Villa - Galleon Beach||USD||5,000-10,000||2021||per week, short-term vacation let|
|Villa - Nonsuch Bay||USD||5,000-14,000||2021||per week, short-term vacation let|
Construction permits are provided by the Development Control Authority.
The first step is to submit a concept drawing. The DCA checks whether it suits the land use and provides an approval in principle. A non-Antiguan will also need to provide an Alien Land-holder Certificate and a copy of the land register.
However, if the development falls under the Third Schedule of the Environmental Protection & Management Act 2015 or is likely to have a significant impact on the environment, then the file is referred to the Department of Environment for its advice (see next section). The Department of Environment may return terms of reference for environmental impact studies to be prepared and submitted at the following stage.
Depending on the nature of the development it may also be referred to the Central Board of Health (for waste water issues), the National Parks Authority (if sited in a national park) or Cabinet (if a large development) for their advice before an approval in principle is provided.
The next step is for the developer to prepare the detailed drawings and plans and submit them along with any required environmental impact studies.
Depending on the nature of the development, the file is referred to a number of public bodies, including the Department of Environment (for an audit of the environmental studies), the National Parks Authority (if sited in a national park), the Central Board of Health, the Fire Department, and if a jetty is involved, the Department of Marine Services, Fisheries Division, Department of Agriculture (as the sea is crown land) and the Port Authority.
Depending on the complexity of the development, the approval process can last from two weeks to significantly longer - this is especially the case when environmental studies are involved.
At the end of the review, and if successful, the Development Control Authority provides a clearance to begin construction, which includes a Commencement Permit. There may be conditions attached from the various public bodies consulted, including the Department of Environment.
The Development Control Authority sends inspectors at every phase of construction. At completion it certifies the development with a Completion Certificate, which allows use and occupation.
The Development Control Authority is in the process of developing an Online Application Portal which is expected to significantly enhance the approval process.
As part of the construction permit procedure, most developments will require an environmental impact assessment (EIA). This applies to developments of the following types:
A hotel or resort complex
The Department of Environment will come back within a 2-3 week review period with possible terms of reference for an EIA and, where necessary, related studies - this is particularly the case with regards to coastal tourism developments, where impact on coastal erosion and marine life needs to be considered. The studies will cover environmental aspects, and in certain cases, socio-economic aspects, such as access to farm land, beaches or public spaces, or the impact of the project on local operators. Developers should be aware that the time taken to complete certain studies, especially those related to coastal erosion, could take up to a year.
The terms of reference will be provided to the developer by the Development Control Authority when it delivers an approval in principle.
The developer carries out the studies requested, through a qualified private consultant of their choice, and returns the studies through the Development Control Authority to the Department of Environment at the same time that it submits the detailed drawings. The Department of Environment's role is then to audit the studies and provide recommendations to the Development Control Authority on whether or how the proposed project may be improved.
Where the Department of Environment has concerns about a developer's willingness to abide by the recommendations it provides, it may require a payment of a performance bond. A developer may also be required to provide monthly progress reports to the Department of Environment during construction, and six-monthly or yearly once the development is completed.
The free trade and processing zone, located near the airport in the North-East of the island, was set up to help diversify the country's economy by attracting investment in a broader range of sectors for the purpose of increasing the export of goods and services.
The FTPZ Commission is responsible for licensing businesses to operate and is set up to run as a private enterprise. Investors must apply directly to the commission or a license.
Current clients include the American University of Antigua (on-site) and a number of interactive gaming firms (off-site).
To operate in the zone a business must:
The zone has over 100 acres of land available, ready for use, with fibre optic cable, roads and other utilities. A bus route runs by the zone, enabling travel for local employees.
The fiscal benefits of operating in the zone include:
Other benefits include:
The Government's commitment to improving environmental standards with regards to planning and developments was appreciated. It was noted that developers would be well advised to familiarize themselves with planning and environmental rules from the outset in order to avoid complications later on, especially for developments by the coast. It was also felt that the environment impact assessment process could be speeded up, possibly through contracting out the service.
It was felt that the rationale for how and to whom land concessions were awarded could be made more clear.
A newly registered business entity must apply for a taxpayer identification number and ABST number from the Inland Revenue Department. Registration is also required for the Medical Benefits Scheme, the Social Security Board and the Board of Education (see Labour tab).
The fiscal year is the calendar year, but a different cycle can be requested. The taxable basis is income earned in Antigua and Barbuda. Companies that can be taxed include those incorporated in Antigua and Barbuda or external companies doing business there.
A number of incentives exist (see Get started tab).
Corporations should pay corporate income tax (CIT) in monthly installments based on the amount of taxes assessed the previous year. CIT is paid on the chargeable income of a corporation, which is derived by adding expenses not allowed and deducting allowances to be granted to the new profit of a Company. The corporate income tax rate is levied at 25%.
The Companies Amendment Bill 2020 was passed by both Houses of Parliament in July. The legislation provides the option for an insolvent company to petition the court for protection from creditors while it undergoes restructuring.
The Unincorporated Business Tax is levied on the chargeable income (net income) of an unincorporated business. A business under this Act includes any business, profession, trade, venture or undertaking for the provision of personal services or technical and managerial skills, and also includes any adventure or concern in the nature of trade and property rental.
|Tax Bands (Chargeable Income)||Rate (%)|
|Up to EC$ 42,000||0|
|EC$ 42,001 to EC$ 186,000||8|
|EC$186,001 and over||25|
|Relevant documents||More information|
ABST is a value added tax on consumption; it is imposed on the selling (buying price + mark-up) of goods and services. The rates are indicated below. The minimum threshold is EC$300,000 in taxable activities per year.
|All items except those below||15|
|Financial services, local transport, education, medical and veterinary services||Exempt|
|Exports, basic food items, water, electricity for residential use||Zero-rated|
Withholding taxes are levied on non-resident corporations and individuals where they are receiving income in the form of dividends, preferred share dividends, interest and rentals, management fees, and royalties, as well as on interest on bank deposits to non-resident corporations
|Dividends (%)||Dividends preferred shares (%)||Interest and rentals (%)||Management fees, royalties and other payments to a non-resident (%)||Interest on bank deposits (%)|
|Corporations resident of a CARICOM member stae||0||15||15||15||15|
|Individuals resident of a CARICOM member state||0||15||15||15||0|
|Relevant institutions||Inland Revenue Department|
The Customs Division levies a number of taxes. They are:
|Relevant documents||Example of rates for import duty and environmental protection levy Customs Control and Management Act|
|Relevant institutions||Customs Division|
This tax is charged on land or land and buildings, based on market value. Rates differ depending on the use of the property. Allowances and rebates also apply.
Non-citizens who do not develop their land face a non-citizens undeveloped land tax.
|Percent of land value||Percent of building value|
|Undeveloped land owned by a non-citizen, in first year of non-development||10.0||-|
|Undeveloped land owned by a non-citizen, in second year of non-development||15.0||-|
|Undeveloped land owned by a non-citizen, in third and subsequent years of non-development||20.0||-|
The buying and selling of property and shares incurs stamp duty, payable by both buyers and sellers.
In addition, non-citizens must acquire a non-citizen license in order to buy a property, a process that takes three to six months.
Non-citizens selling their property must pay a land appreciation tax on the difference between the buying and selling price of their property.
|Paid by buyer (%)||Paid by seller (%)|
|Stamp duty on shares||2.5||5.0|
|Stamp duty on property||2.5||7.5|
|Land appreciation tax (applies to non-citizens)||-||5.0|
|Non-citizen license (applies to non-citizens)||5.0||-|
|Relevant institutions||Inland Revenue Department|
Taxes apply for certain licenses. A full list is attached.
|Relevant documents||Full list of taxes on licenses|
|Relevant documents||List of tax information exchange agreements|
Antigua and Barbuda bases its legal system on the British common law system. The Attorney General, the Chief Justice, Puisne Judges, and Magistrates administer justice in the country. An appeal may be taken to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’s Court of Appeal, and the final court of appeal for Antigua and Barbuda is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is the regional judicial tribunal, established in 2001 by the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice. The CCJ has original jurisdiction to interpret and apply the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. In its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ considers and determines appeals from Member States of CARICOM, which are parties to the Agreement Establishing the CCJ. Antigua and Barbuda is subject to the original jurisdiction of the CCJ.
Antigua and Barbuda has certain legal and treaty measures that exist to provide protection. These are described below.
The Government treats foreign and local investors equally with respect to the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, operation, and sale or other disposition of investment in its territory.
The Investment Authority Act of 2006 states that any nationalization, expropriation or indirect measures having an equivalent effect will be carried out in a non-discriminatory manner, for the public good and in accordance with due process of law. It will be accompanied by prompt, adequate and effective compensation. Calculation of compensation is based on fair market value immediately before the expropriation or before the impending expropriation became public knowledge. Compensation must be paid in convertible currency and can be freely transferred.
Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention), meaning that arbitral awards relating to foreign investments are legally binding and enforceable.
The country has also signatory to the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). This membership in MIGA allows direct foreign investment into the country to be eligible for the Agency’s investment guarantees. Investors from Antigua and Barbuda going into MIGA’s other developing member countries may also receive coverage for their investments.
Investors are free to use national or international arbitration with regards to contracts entered into with the state. Further, access to international arbitration is provided for under Antigua and Barbuda's bilateral investment treaties. International arbitration awards are enforceable by the High Court of Antigua and Barbuda.
International or national arbitration may also be selected if specified in contracts between private parties.
Investors also have access to Antigua and Barbuda's legal system, which is based on the common law tradition. If both parties agree, cases in front of the court can be moved to arbitration as per the Arbitration Act 1975.
|Relevant documents||Arbitration Act, 1975|
Antigua and Barbuda has bilateral investment treaties (attached below) with:
Investment provisions are also contained in a number of CARICOM trade agreements (see the Growth Sectors and Opportunities tab).
Companies registered in Antigua and Barbuda have the right to repatriate all capital, royalties, dividends and profits free of all taxes or any other charges on foreign exchange transactions. Withholding taxes are levied on non-resident corporations and individuals where they are receiving income in the form of dividends, preferred share dividends, interest and rentals, management fees, and royalties, as well as on interest on bank deposits to non-resident corporations. One must be on the island for 180 days to be considered a resident. Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
Antigua and Barbuda has a wide legislative framework with respect to the protection of intellectual property rights, on trade marks, copyrights, industrial designs and geographical indications. Intellectual property can be registered at the Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office.
In addition, Article 66 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (2001) establishing the Caribbean Single Market and Economy commits all 15 members to implement stronger Intellectual Property protection and enforcement.
The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which was signed between the CARIFORUM States and the European Community in 2008 contains the most detailed obligations in respect of intellectual property in any trade agreement to which Antigua and Barbuda is a party. The EPA gives recognition to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property. Article 139 of the EPA requires parties to “ensure an adequate and effective implementation of the international treaties dealing with intellectual property to which they are parties and of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS).”
|Relevant documents||Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (2001) CARIFORUM-EU EPA Trademark Act, 2003 Copyright Act, 2003 Industrial Design Act, 2003 Industrial Designs Regulations, 2006 Geographical Indications Act, 2003 Geographical Indications Regulations, 2006|
|Relevant institutions||Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office|
|Relevant documents||WIPO Berne Convention|
The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883) establishes industrial property protection rules regarding patents, marks, industrial designs, trade names, geographical indications and the repression of unfair competition. Its provisions include regulations regarding the national treatment, the right of priority and a number of common rules.
|Relevant documents||WIPO Paris Convention|
In case of infringement, an owner or licensee of an intellectual property right may seek award of damages and remedies at the High Court.
They may also request the Comptroller of Customs to seize imported counterfeit goods. However it is a matter of the courts to make the determination on the destruction of the goods. Seized items are usually handed over to the police to be used as evidence during any court matters.
Antigua and Barbuda is in the process of reviewing the existing laws in relation to the importation of counterfeit goods into the country.
|Relevant institutions||Customs Division|
Chapter 8 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas provides the competition policy applicable to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) States. Member States are required to establish and maintain a national competition authority for facilitating the implementation of the rules of competition.
At the CARICOM level, a Caribbean Competition Commission has been established to apply the rules of competition in respect of anti-competitive cross-border business conduct. The CARICOM competition policy addresses anti-competitive business conduct, such as agreements between enterprises, decisions by associations of enterprises, and concerted practices by enterprises that have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the Community; and actions by which an enterprise abuses its dominant position within the Community. No legislation is yet in operation to regulate competition in Antigua and Barbuda.
The OECS has agreed to establish a regional competition body to handle competition matters within its single market. The draft OECS bill has been submitted to the Ministry of Legal Affairs for review.
Antigua and Barbuda is a small open economy, dominated by the service sector. GDP at market prices was estimated at US$1.36 Billion in 2019 (see attached).
The economy is estimated to have expanded
by 4.66 per cent in 2019, relative to growth of 7.39 per
cent in 2018.
The expansion in economic activity was due to growth in the major sectors led by construction 17% and hotels 15%. On the other hand there was a notable 10% decline in the Manufacturing Sector.
Antigua is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank issues the East Caribbean dollar, which is pegged to the US dollar, for all members of the Union. The Bank also manages monetary policy, and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in union member states.
|Relevant documents||GDP Estimates 2018 and 2019|
Overseen by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas in 1973, it allows all goods originating from within CARICOM countries (except the Bahamas) to be traded without restrictions. Most member states also apply a common external tariff (CET) on goods originating from non-CARICOM countries. Investors operating in one CARICOM country are given preferential access to the entire CARICOM market. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishes the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), permitting the free movement of goods, capital and labour within CARICOM States. More information at: http://csmeonline.org.
The OECS, established by the Treaty of Basseterre, consists of seven full Member States: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and three associate members: Anguilla, Martinique and the British Virgin Islands. The purpose is to promote harmonization among Member States in areas concerning foreign policy, defence and security, and economic affairs. The six independent countries of the OECS ratified the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the OECS Economic Union on January 21, 2011. The Economic Union established a single financial and economic space within which all factors of production, including goods, services and people, move without hindrance.
The CBI provides for the United States to reduce tariffs on imports from CBI beneficiary countries if a) they are imported directly from a CBI beneficiary country into the U.S. customs territory; b) they are wholly the growth, product or manufacture of a CBI beneficiary country or are substantially transformed into a new or different article in the CBI beneficiary country; and c) contain a minimum of 35 percent local content of one or more CBI beneficiary countries (15 percent of the minimum content may be from the United States). More information: https://ustr.gov/issue-areas/trade-development/preference-programs/caribbean-basin-initiative-cbi.
|Relevant documents||Trade and Investment Framework Agreement|
The Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement provides goods originating from the Commonwealth-Caribbean with duty-free access to the Canadian market. Certain goods, such as textiles and apparel, footwear, luggage and handbags are excluded. There are plans to replace this agreement with a reciprocal free trade agreement. More information at: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-98-36/page-1.html
Signed in 2008 between CARIFORUM's 15 states and the European Union's 27 states, it allows products from CARIFORUM economies 100 percent immediate duty- and quota-free access to the EU. EU access to CARIFORUM markets will however be phased in over 25 years, with protection for 17 percent of CARIFORUM goods and services. The agreement also covers competition, innovation and intellectual property, public procurement, and environmental and labour standards. More information: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/regions/caribbean.
|Relevant documents||CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement|
Antigua and Barbuda has had a tourism industry since the 1940's and was the first to be developed in the Eastern Caribbean. The industry saw significant growth in the 1980's and 1990's with the redevelopment of the St. John’s Waterfront and enhancement and addition of other attractions such as Nelson’s Dockyard and Jolly Harbour.
Key factors making the sector attractive include:
The tourism sector is the country's largest economic sector with an estimated contribution to GDP of 50 percent in 2019.
The five principal source markets for stay-over visitors in 2019 were the United States (123,302) United Kingdom (76,686) Canada (37,122) the Caribbean (34,450) and Italy (9,683). Total Air Arrivals was (300,359) in 2019.
While beaches are a natural asset, the Government is keen to focus on niches. These include:
The Government's aim is to double room stock (presently 3,000) by 2022 across all segments. Below is a description of the current room capacity in the country:
St John's Development Corporation was established in 1986 by Act of Parliament to redevelop the downtown city centre and quayside. Regeneration projects have included Heritage Quay, The Exhibition and Cultural Center at Perry Bay and most recently, the Vendor's Mall.
The latest phase of this renewal is the St John's Masterplan that will centre around several blocks of downtown St John's by the quayside. The masterplan foresees the creation of a pedestrian promenade linking at either end two transport centres to facilitate the flow of cruise passengers to buses and taxes. In between will be three new squares, a streetcar and a new retail centre. Buildings will be painted in bright local colours and food and beverage outlets will be franchised from international brands.
Construction of the 5th Cruise Ship Berthing Pier progressed in 2019. This is expected to be completed in November 2020 and will allow for the berthing of Oasis Class Vessels as well as home-porting for Ships. The Construction of the 5th Pier is part of a part of a lease arrangement between the
Government of Antigua and Barbuda and Global Ports Holdings which will also see Global Ports managing the range of activities associated with the Cruise Sector.
Opportunities exist to establish higher education centres aimed at students from the US and other markets, where shortages of places in home countries exist.
Key attractions include:
The American University of Antigua College of Medicine was founded in 2004. It provides teaching at the level of the first two years of a US medical school and is duly accredited. After studying at AUA, students continue at a range of US medical schools for semesters 5 through 12.
Most students originate from the US and there are around 1,000 at any one time. The university is recognized by the US Title 4 funding, meaning that students are eligible for US government loans.
The university employs a faculty of 62 foreign teaching staff as well as employing 136 local staff. The emphasis is on small group teaching.
It is located within in the free trade zone and benefits from certain fiscal and other advantages (see land tab). The site has potential to expand for further teaching activities. Antigua was chosen as a location in part because of the proximity to the US, an environment climate popular with students,simple procedures for business establishment and the availability of qualified English staff locally.
Antigua and Barbuda hosts both inshore and offshore financial services companies covering banking, trusts and insurance.
With regards to inshore financial services, cooperatives and insurance companies are registered with the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC), which is the supervisor and regulator.
Banks conducting business in the country must register with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), the supervisor and regulator.
With regards to offshore financial services, the country hosts banks and trusts, which are registered as "international business corporations". International Business Corporations are also the company type for interactive gambling (see heading below).
Registration of international business corporations is through registered corporate service providers. The documentary requirements and procedures are set out on the FSRC website (see below). The process takes three to four weeks, though directors from outside Antigua and Barbuda may need due diligence checks.
Antigua and Barbuda has a number of factors that make it an attractive location for ITES-BPO, which can include IT support, hosting or servers and Call Centres. These include:
Canada Place, the Global Headquarters of Business Mogul Calvin Ayre became operational in the latter half of 2019. Calvin Ayre is a Canadian entrepreneur based in Antigua and Barbuda who founded the Ayre Group and Bodog entertainment brand and also manages other business entities on the island. This represented a US $40 million investment into the Antiguan economy.
Growth potential is seen in the provision of Bitcoin and Blockchain technology services to the interactive gaming industry.
|Relevant documents||Gaming sector review|
The interactive gaming sector currently employs 350 people in Antigua and Barbuda.
The Government provides two types of gaming licenses, for interactive wagering (such as betting) and for interactive gaming (such as poker and other casino games).
The country has been white-listed by the UK authorities meaning that sites hosted in the Antigua and Barbuda are legally accessible from the UK.
Key benefits for hosting in the country include a friendly business environment, availability of a well-educated workforce, the fiscal framework, and good quality telecommunications infrastructure.
The sector is regulated by the Financial Services and Regulatory Commission and the Interactive Gaming and Interactive Wagering Regulations, 2007 as amended.
Additional information from the FSRC is attached above.
The Caribbean sailing season is December to April. During that time yachts are brought mainly from Europe, either sailed themselves or by ship. The season starts with a yacht charter show, attended by charter companies and agents, and ends with Antigua sailing week, which has been running for over 50 years. The country has a tradition of servicing boats cruising the island chain.
Key features that make Antigua and Barbuda an attractive investment destination in this sector include:
The agriculture sector is small, at 7 percent of GDP in 2019, but growing. Current farming includes crops and livestock with a nascent fish farming sector.
The government encourages foreign investment in
many sectors including agriculture. The Government is not opposed to a
non-national investing in Agriculture but its primary focus is to empower and
enable Nationals already engaged in the sector.
Opportunities exist to provide products to the local market, especially to a hospitality sector looking to find cheaper alternatives to imports. Areas not significantly exploited include fish farming (tilapia and shrimp), and hydroponics.
In 2016 the Government started the implementation of the “National Food Security and Sovereignty Action Plan”. This plan is aimed at reducing imports by empowering farmers to produce various crop and livestock commodities with the ultimate aim to achieve self-sufficiency in some of these; such as chicken, pork, roots crops and tubers, onion, carrot, tomato, melon etc.
The Medium Term Development Strategy 2016-2020 further notes that for some agricultural products and livestock, Antigua and Barbuda has the potential to significantly reduce imports and to engage in exports. There is also active encouragement of egg production with a view to reducing imports. The Central Marketing Cooperation (CMC) is also being institutionally enhanced to further facilitate the marketing and distribution of domestic agricultural products.
The Government is aiming for the widespread adoption of renewable energy, with an emphasis on solar, wind and biofuels, in order to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuel imports and consumption. As a consequence, the National Energy Policy sets a goal of reducing energy consumption of public facilities by 30 percent by 2025.
Current projects include the installation of a 10 MW solar park spread between various sites, including by the airport (3 MW), on public buildings (2 MW), in Bethesda (4 MW) and on Barbuda (1 MW).
The relative high cost of thermal energy in Antigua and Barbuda make renewables an interesting option. However, the recent acquisition by the Antigua Public Utilities Authority of new thermal generation capacity, limits its interest in reaching supply agreements with independent power producers. Nevertheless, businesses that have their own power generation capacity, are able to sell surplus electricity to the grid at 45 percent of the retail price. This amount is paid as credit against future consumption.
The following are incentives offered to foreign and domestic investors aimed at advancing the sector:
Additional initiatives underway include:
Antigua and Barbuda's real estate market is steady but growing with the most popular segment being housing in the US$ 200,000 to 450,000 bracket. The rental market is also seen as steady. However, property sales have been poor with an outstanding stock of 200 properties for sale.
The market is generally price inelastic and targeted by a certain class of customer looking for a third or fourth property.
An additional market is the expatriate rental market, which includes at the higher end, Crobies, and at the mid-range end, Jolly Harbour.
In order to encourage investment into the sector, the Government provides options for citizenship for those investing a minimum of US$400,000 in a real estate unit or, as part of a group, US$1.5 million in a real estate development project (see Get Started tab). In both cases these must be in approved developments. For investors, citizenship has been seen as a useful benefit, although not a reason in itself for investing.
The Government is keen to ensure that real estate developments respect the environment of the islands. Given the attractiveness of being on the coast, developers should pay close attention to procedures linked to construction and environmental impact assessments, and to the criteria for purchase of public land (see Land tab).
|Official name||Antigua and Barbuda|
|Country area||108 sq miles (Antigua) and 62 sq miles (Barbuda)|
|Capital city||St. John's|
|Population||Population Estimate 2019 - 96,453|
|Administrative regions||There are 6 parishes as well as Barbuda|
|Local currency||Eastern Caribbean Dollars (EC$)|
|Exchange rate||EC$2.70 = US$1.00|
|Other national language(s)||None|
|GDP||US$1.36 billion (2019 estimate)|
|GDP per capita||US$14,130|
|Literacy rate||90% Estimated|
|Fiscal year||January 1 to December 31|
|Normal working hours||8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m.|
|Main ports of entry||St. John's, English Harbour, Heritage Quay, Jolly Harbour, Barbuda|