ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Nov 14 2016 – The government is reporting a decrease in applications for the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).
According to Lennox Weston, the minister of state in the Ministry of Finance, this can be attributed to a decrease in demand for the programme but he remains optimistic that this could change in the future.
“Yes, it has slowed down, not only in Antigua but in St Kitts, too, and in other territories. It has not dried up, we may have seen a 10 percent decline but we still have two more months to go. We project that we may have a 10-15 percent reduction from last year when we had $100 million from it; we may end up with $75, $80 or $85 million,” said Weston who was against on Observer Radio’s Big Issues programme.
He noted that the projections do not spell disaster for the economy since there are international factors that could result in growth adding that marketing of the desirability of the Antiguan and Barbudan passport should be revised given that the world’s CIP market is large enough.
“You have to look at areas of instability in the world, in terms of where you get your business from, if for example the Middle East stabilises to the point where betting becomes possible, then you will see a boom or if Donald Trump implements some of the policies he touted or wealthy persons who may want multiple status.”
He admitted that the decline has had an impact on some developments as several projects are heavily dependent on CIP revenue.
“Those 10 big hotel projects have not started and so we expect that when they started we will hit out five percent minimum growth which we have set and we would love to edge up to six and seven percent. We expect them to start next year…”
The CIP has so far been established up in four of the nine member states of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) – St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts Nevis and Dominica.