Commissioner Johnson and others from the BES-islands are in The Netherlands for the launch of Evaluation Committee.
Commissioner Chris Johnson is in The Netherlands to attend the official launch of the Evaluation Committee. The Evaluation Committee will kick off their work which is expected to be completed by the 10th of October next year. The commission was on the islands recently to introduce themselves to the residents of the island and to explain about the work that they will be doing.
In addition to the meeting with the Evaluation Committee, Commissioner Johnson and Commissioner Zaandam will also be meeting with the Ministry of Finance about the ABB adjustments that are slated to be introduced in 2016. Together with Commissioner Reginald Zandaam of St. Eustatius a joint letter has been drafted requesting that any changes to the current tax regime in place on the two Windward Islands should be delayed until the results of evaluation are discussed on a political level. In the opinion of the commissioner the scheduled changes for 2016 are too close to final date of the report. During the meeting with the officials at the ministry they will emphasize this point.
Commissioner Johnson will also meet with civil servants from the Ministry of Economic Affairs concerning the subsidies for Saba Electric Company and for other projects. Every year the Ministry provides a subsidy to cover the losses incurred by the company. This meeting is to determine what level the subsidy will be set at.
The SBA had countless meetings and send letters to the second chamber concerning these topics already weeks and month ago. To raise the vastgoebelasting by 2015 and the ABB (import AND service tax) with 2% (ABB 6 to 8% Service ABB 4 to 6%) by 2016 is ridiculous. While the Dutch complaining at the same time about the high cost of living on the island and talk about poverty reduction and increase business incentives etc. They are the once that make it difficult because they never really listen to the facts and to the stakeholders. Neither to the local governments nor to the CoC or business support organization’s.
Furthermore, without any consultation with any stakeholders the labor/IND department has risen the work permit fees by close to (approx.. 375US now to 810 US in two weeks) more or less 110-120% with almost no notice and the renewal went up as well.
I have the feeling one hand (ministry) doesn’t know what the other is doing or they just don’t care.
Guess what the result of this actions will be. If you can’t answer it for yourself: the prices will go up with all the consequences attached to it. To make a living will get more difficult and the cost of doing business will be almost unbearable. I have asked them to use common sense over principal. Good luck with that.