PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Finance Richard Gibson is cautioning the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) management about its plans to introduce import duties on air cargo coming into St. Maarten.
The Minister, speaking at Wednesday’s, April 13, weekly Council of Ministers press briefing cautioned airport management that they do not have the authority to introduce such duties, as this is under the purview of the Minister of Finance.
“The only authority that there is to charge citizens import duties is the Minister of Finance, and the Ministry of Finance and the Tax Department of St. Maarten,” Gibson said.
“I asked (the airport manager’s) cooperation and urged him not to proceed with that kind of thinking, but to look for a different way,” Gibson added.
Meanwhile, Minister Gibson pointed out that there is an increasing trend for consumers to purchase goods overseas directly into St. Maarten, reducing sales for local companies.
He believes the latest move by the airport is going in a direction that may preempt government.
“Something we need to look at and do something about. Perhaps we have to think about imposing the 6% ToT also on goods that are brought because the ToT law is there,” said Minister Gibson, adding that some companies are reporting a fall as much as 30% in sales.
“Given the fact that we’re thinking in that direction also led me to sit down with the airport and say look, we can’t be going in two directions. We need to have one method, one approach and please use a different approach as far as rent that they want to charge and not relate it to the import of goods,” the Minister explained.