Dominica

Business Environment
In October 2002 Dominica was taken off the Financial Action Task Force's blacklist of jurisdictions deemed as 'unco-operative' in the fight against money laundering. Dominica has also signed a letter committing the jurisdiction to implementing tax information exchange agreements with OECD-member countries. Dominica is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, which acts as the monetary authority for a regional grouping of eight jurisdictions. During 1998, the offshore sector generated US$3.52 million in government revenue, most of which came from the economic citizenship programme. In 2002 Dominica ended the sale of passports under its economic citizenship programme.

Dominica's offshore financial sector includes international business companies, offshore banks, Internet gaming companies, captive insurance companies, exempt trusts, duty free zones, and international ship registration.

Offshore banks must have a minimum required paid-up capital of US$1,000,000. Offshore banks can engage in trust business. The International Exempt Trust Act No. 10 of 1997 makes provisions for spendthrift, charitable, and non-charitable international trusts whose settlers and beneficiaries must at all times be non-resident. The maximum duration of spendthrift and non-charitable trusts is 100 years from the date of creation while a charitable trust may have a duration exceeding 100 years.

Taxes
Offshore banks are exempt from all taxes and duties. International business companies are granted a 20-year exemption from all taxes and duties. Exempt insurance companies, management companies, and holding companies are exempted from withholding tax or any form of income tax on their business operations in Dominica

Government Contact
International Business Unit
Ministry of Finance
Government Headquarters,
Kennedy Avenue, Roseau.
Tel: 767 448 2401/0406
Fax: 767 448 0406
E-mail: ibu@cwdom.dm;
Website: www.ibuoffshoredominica.dm

Status
Commonwealth of Dominica; independent nation. English is the official language, but French-Creole is widely spoken. Dominica, which gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1978, joined the British Commonwealth but rejected its queen as the island's figurehead in favour of an appointed president.

Population
72,000 (est. February 2000)

Capital
Roseau

Currency
US$1 = Eastern Caribbean $2.70 (rate fixed since 1976)

Legal system
The legal system is based on English common law. There are three local levels of judiciary courts. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court located in Saint Lucia hears appeals. The Privy Council in London is the highest court of appeal.

Government
Dominica is a republic with an executive branch composed of a president, a prime minister and a cabinet. The unicameral House of Assembly elects the president for a term of five years. Presidents can serve a maximum of two terms. The president appoints as prime minister the elected member who commands the support of a majority of elected members. He appoints other ministers on the advice of the prime minister. Executive authority is vested in the president, but in most matters he heeds the advice of the cabinet and acts as a constitutional head of state. The House of Assembly has 30 members made up of elected representatives from each of 21 constituencies, and nine senators who are appointed on the advice of the parties. The term of office is five years.

Executive
President: Nicholas Liverpool

Cabinet
Prime minister, finance, labour and Caribbean affairs: Pierre Charles
Agriculture, planning, and the environment: Lloyd Pascal
Communications and works: Reginald Austrie
Community development and women's affairs: Mathew Walter
Education, science and technology: Herbert Sabaroche
Foreign affairs: Osborne Riviere
Health and social security: John Toussaint
Housing: Vince Henderson
Industry, physical planning, and enterprise development: Ambrose George
Legal affairs: David Bruney
Sports and youth: Roosevelt Skeritt
Tourism: Charles Savarin
Attorney General: David Bruney

Political parties
Dominica Labour Party (DLP): leader Pierre Charles
The Dominica Freedom Party (DFP): leader Charles Savarin
United Workers' Party (UWP): Edison James

Elections
As of the last general election held 31 January 2000 the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) holds 10 of the elected seats (43.1% of the vote), the United Workers' Party (UWP) holds nine seats (43.3% of the vote) and the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) holds two seats (13.6% of the vote). The DLP and the DFP entered into a coalition arrangement to form the government. The next general election is due by February 2005. The last presidential election was held October 2003 and the next is due in October 2008.

Economic overview
The economy depends on agriculture and is vulnerable to tropical storms. Agriculture, primarily banana production, accounts for 21% of GDP and employs 40% of the labour force. Government is attempting to develop an offshore financial industry to diversify the economy. Dominica has a low level of international reserves (about two weeks of imports), which make the country's external liquidity position 'precarious' according to Standard & Poor's. However, growth is being led by tourism and free trade manufacturing zones. Dominica attracted about 279,400 visitors in 1999. Total visitor expenditures was estimated at US$48.81 million.

Gross domestic product (1999)
Real growth: 0.9%.

Net foreign assets
EC$32.1 million (30 June 1999)

Trade
Exports US$62.3 million; imports US$107.3 million; service, income and transfers balance US$26.8 million; current account deficit US$18.2 million (1998)

Inflation rate (CPI)
1% (1999)

Labour force
25,000. By occupation: agriculture 40%, industry and commerce 32%, services 28%. Unemployment rate 23% (2000 est.)

Government accounts
Current revenue US$86.2 million (including grants), current expenditure US$74.3 million, capital expenditure and lending US$22 million. Total deficit US$10.1 million. (1998-1999). Central government debt: US$175.92 million or 65% of GDP (2000).

Government financial year
1 July-30 June

Public holidays (2004)
1 January (New Year's Day), 23-24 February (Carnival), 9 April (Good Friday), 12 April (Easter Monday), 1 May (May Day), 31 May (Whit Monday); 2 August (August Monday), 3 November (Independence Day), 4 November (Community Service Day), 25 December (Christmas); 26 December (Boxing Day).

Time zone
GMT -4 hours. There is no summer time clock change.