Sao Tome and Principe, a Central African country, is wooing Ghanaian investors and tourists to help turn its economic fortunes around. The country’s Head of Department of Tourism, Mr Jose Anthonio, said there were several incentives for investors in different sectors.
“Land acquisition is easy, there is no import duty on equipment meant for manufacturing and there are a number of tax incentives,” he said.
He was speaking at an event to welcome selected journalists from Ghana on a tour of the Island organised by TAP Portugal, the Portuguese national airline.
Among the country’s tax incentives are 75 per cent reduction in property transfer tax payable for the acquisition or establishment of ownership rights for the investment project, 50 per cent reduction in corporate income tax for the first seven years of the project.
This includes the first year and permission to amortise, over a period of three years, expenses incurred in the training and professional development of domestic personnel involved in the investment project.
The economy of Sao Tome and Príncipe, while traditionally dependent on cocoa, is experiencing considerable changes due to investment in its oil industry, its territorial waters in the oil-rich waters of the Gulf of Guinea.
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The investment opportunities are available in different sectors such as the agricultural sector, including the fishing sector, growing of cocoa, coffee, flowers, fruits and vegetables, agro processing, tourism sector and infrastructure.
With a population of about 180,000, he said the country’s great tourism potential, stable economic and social conditions and safe environs made it an ideal place for tourists.
According to Mr Anthonio, the small Central African Island is the safest place in the world, adding that the country’s climate and soil make it highly productive in agriculture.
With its great attractions, including beaches, waterfalls, water sports, biodiversity and cuisine, the country’s Department of Tourism figures showed it received large number of tourists from Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
The District Sales Manager of Tap Portugal, Mr Edwin Lawson, for his part said the airline was experiencing increasing growth in travels to Sao Tome and Principe.
From 1,620 in 2015, the only airline from Ghana that plies Sao Tome and Principe recorded 2,294 in 2016 representing an increase of 29 per cent.
He said the airline which currently flies to the island four times in a week offers the lowest possible rates on the route and would consider increasing it to five or six if the current trend continues.
He said incentives for its customers includes flexible fares for passengers that travel with little baggage, as well as the opportunity to upgrade from economy to first or business class through bidding.