Antigua and Barbuda is expected to earn $80 million this year through its Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) while in 2015, it earned $100 million, said Senator Lennox Weston, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance. The steep decline owes to the applicants preference to invest in businesses, real estate and government sponsored individual projects, instead of contributing to the National Development Fund (NDF) according to CIP official.
Thomas Anthony, Deputy CEO of the Antigua & Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) said “It’s not that necessarily the numbers have reduced, but the options that have been taken up by investors may change,”. According to him, the options given to the applicants to invest directly into projects instead of the NDF is the reason of decreased revenue from CIP. Adding on further Anthony said that if there are 30 applications a month on an average, “more people (are) choosing real estate or investment in business. Even if you choose to end there, we may have an opportunity for them to not deposit directly into the NDF, but into an identified project.”
Notable point here is that the monies invested into business projects and real estate by the CIP investors do not go to the Government of Antigua & Barbuda and therefore, difficult to track, Anthony said.
Giving the example of Sun2live power plant by PV energy at the VC Bird International Airport, Anthony said
“The investors in PV energy would go directly to an escrow account that’s administrated by the principals of the company and the people from the Ministry of Finance”, “So the money will not be deposited into the identified National Development Fund.”
Producing an average of 10 megawatts of energy, Sun2live power plant is an example of the project directly funded by the CIP investors’ money.