Dominica was building houses and infrastructure, improving education and health care with the funds it received from the citizenship programme for investment. This was stated by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit at the Khaleej Times webinar on economic citizenship after the pandemic.
What are the investors’ funds going into
Dominica spends the funds that the citizenship programme receives for investment on citizens’ needs: medicine, education, building houses and infrastructure, clean energy.
In 2019, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit noted that Dominica had spent $26 million on educational grants for young people. Thanks to funds from the Citizenship Programme for investment, Dominica’s youth receive higher education in Canada, the United States and the UK.
Part of the funding from the program was spent on rebuilding 15 schools that were destroyed by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
The Government of Dominica has also launched a mentoring programme. There are 169 extra-curricular tutors sent to schools. Their task is to help children who need extra lessons.
With investors’ funds, 14 new polyclinics and a hospital are being built in Dominica. In May 2020, the Government announced that the implementation of these projects was on track.
The construction of health centres is part of the housing programme, which is fully funded by the Citizenship Programme grants for investment.
The government of Dominica has started a “housing revolution”. There are plans to build 5,000 houses that are resistant to hurricanes. The initiative aims to eliminate the effects of Tropical Storm Erika in 2015 and Hurricane Maria in 2017. It also aims to minimize damage from adverse weather conditions in the future.
According to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, several hundred houses have already been erected and several hundred more are under construction. In the near future he will give the keys to the new homes to 225 families.
Roosevelt Skerrit noted that the citizenship programme for investment will allow Dominica to become the first country in the world to be resistant to climate change.
The Government of Dominica expects the country to receive 85% of its electricity from renewable sources in the coming years. It will use geothermal sources and has already secured EU support in this regard.
Prime Minister Skerrit expressed the view that Dominica is an example of how a country can use citizenship for investment for sustainable development, job creation, economic growth and poverty reduction
Transparent spending of funds
The Government of Dominica had a policy of transparency in expenditure reporting. Estimates are regularly submitted to Parliament that reflect the cost items from the Citizenship Programme for investment.
The head of the department of the Citizenship for Investment Programme, Ambassador Nanthan, who also attended the webinar, stressed that the funds received are regularly subjected to internal and external audits.
Assessments by analysts
In May 2019, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) published a detailed report on its Dominica citizenship program.
PwC estimates that the programme brought in over $135.3 million in investment between 2014/15 and 2018/19. According to preliminary calculations, next year (2019/20) the program should bring $15.3 million. According to analysts, the indirect impact of the program on Dominica’s GDP in the period 2014/15-2018/19 was about $ 28.9 million in the form of collected taxes.
The graph shows the number of applications approved for the years 2013-2018 and the ratio of options selected by applicants. The Dominica Citizenship Program allows you to choose between two investment options — non-refundable investment in a public fund or real estate investment.
Approved applications 2013-2018 including options
Source: PwC, 2019
Earlier, we said that the pandemic had led to lower property prices in the Caribbean. This is an opportunity for investors who plan to participate in citizenship programmes for investment. But we must hurry: prices will recover quickly once borders open.