Good Economic Outlook for BVI

March 16, 2010 Taxation in British Virgin Islands

TortolaAnnual government corporate renewal fees collected in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) grew in 2009, as did the number of sea vessels registered in the first two months of 2010, leading the Government officials to extol a sense of optimism in the economic prospects for the 2010 year.

New figures from the BVIs’ Financial Services Commission (FSC) released on March 15th show that annual corporate renewal fees collection rose to more than USD 162.66 million in 2009, compared to USD 156.15 million in 2008. Despite the growing annual government corporate renewal fee collection, new-incorporations fee revenue dropped to USD17.22 million in 2009, compared to USD 22.47 million in 2008. The FSC’s released statistics show that the number of newly incorporated companies has been in decline since 2008. In 2007 77 022 registrations were seen, with each quarter exceeding 17 000 incorporations. The number of incorporations fell to 61 716 in 2008, and only the first quarter experienced registrations above 17 000, at 20 752. 2009 saw 12 307 new incorporations in the first quarter; 9 871 in the second quarter; 13 368 in the third quarter and 11 931 in the fourth quarter. For the first two months of 2010 new incorporation revenue collections were reported to be USD 4.58 million, and USD 10.58 million for annual renewals.

The Virgin Islands Shipping Registry (VISR) reported positive growth, revealing that vessel registrations for the first two months of 2010 had reached 56, compared to 41 for the same time period in 2009. Although the majority registrations were for pleasure vessels, Captain Baboucar Sallah, VISR Director, said, “…the prospects for larger vessels including general cargo ships, which will generate substantial revenue per unit, are good for 2010.”

Regardless of the fall in revenues, Ralph T. O’Neal, BVI Premier and Minister of Finance, said that Government revenues have not being too adversely affected, on account of strong re-registrations. He went on to say “…expectations for the Virgin Islands economy in 2010 are optimistic given the path recovery for the global economy.”

Photo by Banana Custard