Amendments introduced today, April 12, to the Nova Scotia Business Incorporated Act will allow the NSBI board of directors to consider selling land and buildings at less than fair-market value, in limited situations.
NSBI holds land and buildings and manages multiple ports and industrial parks across the province. The corporation's goal is to work with the communities where these assets are located and help plan sustainable initiatives that will mean business growth for the region.
"In some cases, it's not just private-sector companies that have worthwhile proposals to use property held by NSBI," said Percy Paris, Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. "We want to ensure NSBI's act gives the corporation and government the flexibility to consider whether property could be transferred to a not-for-profit or to the provincial government for less than fair-market prices."
Since the term financial assistance, as used in the NSBI Act, doesn't allow the province's business-development agency to provide assistance with a grant, NSBI cannot sell or dispose of real property at less than fair market value.
This makes sense when NSBI is negotiating with private businesses. With the amendment introduced today, not-for-profits and the provincial government may be considered exempt, on a case-by-case basis. These arrangements will need NSBI board and cabinet approvals.
In addition, the bill allows a minor housekeeping amendment to resolve an inconsistency in the dates to submit the corporation's five-year evaluation reports and five-year strategic plans to the Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister.