As businesses in the marine sector continue to feel the economic crunch brought on by the closure of the sea borders, the government has announced that it is offering a 50 per cent reduction of licensing fees paid by all charter boat owners, charter companies, and charter management companies.
Premier Andrew Fahie said this reduction in licensing fees is a part of the government’s commitment to alleviating the impacts of COVID-19 on the public.
“I am pleased to announce that your government has extended a reduction of fees for the 2020 to 2021 season, for the licensing year 1st November, 2020 to 31st October, 2021. This is a stimulus for our marine industry,” said Fahie who has portfolio responsibility for the ports, tourism, and finance.
By law, licensing fees for Recreational Commercial Vessels are due on November 1 each year. As such, fees were to be paid by November 1, 2020.
But the government said given the circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic — which prevented the marine industry from operating at full capacity — licensing fees outstanding since last November 1 are now due to be paid at half the cost by April 15 this year.
Thereafter, fines and penalties may apply for non-compliance; as stipulated by law.
All charter companies and charter boat owners are encouraged to contact the Customs Department at 284-468-6852 and submit all outstanding fees by the mid-April deadline.
The BVI said it will reopen its sea borders to international traffic on that said date. However, business is likely to pick up slowly in the marine sector as a number of yachters who usually frequent BVI waters have taken their business to other parts of the Caribbean and the world.
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