Can Urban Renewal Act Transform Communities?

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Some private sector and civil society groups are supporting a recommendation by the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry to push for greater use of the Urban Renewal Tax Relief Act to support redevelopment efforts in troubled inner city communities.

The 2010 Act allows the Government to declare an area as a place suffering from urban blight or decay or as a special development zone.

West Kingston Commission of Enquiry Chairman Sir David Simmons and his team say they believe that this would encourage private sector groups to help in the redevelopment of such communities through tax incentives.

Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, PSOJ President William Mahfood says declaring some inner city communities special development area would be a good move which may interest investors.

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Some of the benefits include accelerated tax credits for capital expenditure, relief from stamp duty and relief from income tax on rental income.

President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Warren McDonald, is also onboard with the recommendation. He says it should be integral to the Government’s growth and development strategy.

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Jamaicans for Justice Executive Director, Horace Levy, also supports the call. However, he’s concerned that it may be used to displace residents of West Kingston.

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